July 19, 2019 Edition
registration for the 2019 CHEAC Annual Meeting ends in just over one week on
July 31. This year’s annual meeting will be held from October 9 – October 11 at
the Westin Pasadena and will provide local health department professionals
representing a wide variety of disciplines throughout California with
networking and learning opportunities.
We are pleased
to once again offer expanded keynote sessions with guest speakers and a myriad
of workshops intended to stimulate best practice sharing and discussions around
shared issues in the field. Stay tuned for forthcoming announcements on key
As a reminder, prices
will increase on August 1 and registration will close on September 1. Local
health department leadership and staff are strongly encouraged to register as
soon as possible. More information on this year’s CHEAC Annual Meeting,
including registration and room reservations, is available here.
the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released a preliminary
version of its “California Spending Plan” report which summarizes the annual
state budget. The publication details the 2019-20 Budget Act and its
significant features approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor
through July 16, 2019. Later this fall, the LAO will release a final version of
the publication, as well as a series of issue-specific posts reflecting
budgetary actions taken later in the legislative session.
the LAO publication, the budget assumed total state spending of $208.9 billion
(excluding federal and bond funds), representing an increase of two percent
over revised totals for 2018-19. General Fund spending for 2019-20 is $147.8
billion, which is an increase of $5.1 billion or four percent over the revised
2018-19 level. Special fund spending is roughly flat from 2018-19 to 2019-20.
The report also assesses how the 2019-20 budget package allocates the state’s
$21.5 billion surplus. The LAO further details major components of the budget
package, including tax and revenue policy changes, debt and liability payments,
and various education, health and human services, and housing and homelessness
“California Spending Plan” report is available here.
On Wednesday, a
coalition of public health and health equity advocates, medical providers, and
lawmakers emerged to renew a push for a statewide sugar-sweetened beverage
(SSB) tax. The coalition – Californians for Less Soda – is comprised of
organizations including the American Heart Association, California Medical
Association, California Dental Association, Public Health Advocates, and the
Public Health Institute, among others. According to the coalition, their
overarching goal is to ensure that any legislative or ballot initiative
proposals related to SSBs assure that consumption of these beverages declines
and revenues generated from a tax or fee are invested in creating a healthier
future for children and promoting more equitable health outcomes.
Recall, local taxes on groceries (including SSBs) are prohibited until 2031 as part of a complex 2018-19 Budget Act deal struck between the beverage industry and organized labor entities. In response to the deal struck in June 2018, lawmakers and medical and public health stakeholders expressed a renewed interest in pushing back against the beverage industry through various legislative and initiative proposals aimed at curbing SSB consumption throughout the state. However, a California Medical Association (CMA)- and California Dental Association (CDA)-sponsored ballot initiative failed to qualify for the 2020 ballot earlier this year. Additionally, a package of five measures introduced earlier in this year’s legislative session by lawmakers – measures to implement an SSB fee, require warning labels on SSBs, require healthy beverages in store checkout aisles, prohibit large unsealed beverage containers, and prohibit SSB retailer incentives – have all stalled for the year and have become two-year bills.
Assembly Member Richard Bloom, who has attempted SSB tax legislation on more than one occasion, this week stated about the nascent coalition and legislative proposal, “We have large majorities in both state houses and a progressive governor. If we mean what we say about public health, there’s now way we can’t win this fight. It’s just a matter of making sure everyone knows the truth about Big Soda.” While the new coalition’s exact strategy remains to be seen, the beverage industry has also indicated a renewed commitment to ensuring that food and beverages in California remain affordable for working families and neighborhood businesses.
information on Californians for Less Soda, including fact sheets and other
materials, is available here.
Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced this week that
they are extending the review of all applications submitted for the California
Community Reinvestment Grants program. Recall that this funding from Proposition
64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) is directed to local health departments and
community-based organizations to provide grants to support activities such as
job placement, system navigation services, and linkages to medical care, for
communities disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug
originally anticipated announcing grant awards by July 31, 2019, but have
extended that to August 31, 2019, and have revised the grant term to September
1, 2019, through August 31, 2021. Additional information from GO-Biz is available
data released on Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) indicate an approximate five percent drop in total drug
overdose deaths in 2018, the first decline in deaths since 1990. While the
figures are subject to slight adjustments based on the finalization of data
from the CDC, federal public health officials have suggested the tide may be
beginning to turn on the precipitous three decades-long increase in drug
overdose deaths throughout the U.S. The U.S. decline is attributed almost
entirely to a decline in deaths due to prescription opioid painkillers.
Overdose deaths involving other drugs, namely fentanyl and methamphetamine,
continued to rise throughout the country.
slight decrease, the death toll remains high with more than 68,000 people dying
from overdose in 2018. Additionally, drops in the number of overdose deaths
were not uniform throughout the country. While many states realized significant
declines in deaths, some states and regions saw double-digit increases.
California realized a 6.6 percent increase in overdose deaths in 2018 according
to the CDC’s provisional data.
sentiment was reflected in a statement on Wednesday by U.S. Health and Human
Services Secretary Alex Azar, indicating, “The latest provisional data on
overdose deaths show that America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder
and addiction are working. … While the declining trend of overdose deaths is an
encouraging sign, by no means have we declared victory against the epidemic or
addiction in general. This crisis developed over two decades and it will not be
The CDC’s provisional data release on drug overdose deaths is available here.