June 22, 2018 Edition
Registration for the 2018 CHEAC Annual Meeting is now open! This year’s annual meeting will be held from October 17 – October 19 at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and will provide local health department professionals representing a wide variety of disciplines throughout California with networking and learning opportunities.
Early bird registration will be offered through July 13, and local health department leadership and staff are strongly encouraged to register as soon as possible and book hotel rooms at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. More information on this year’s CHEAC Annual Meeting, including registration, is available here.
The Legislature maintained a very busy hearing scheduling this week as policy committees face a deadline next Friday, June 29 to hear and report all fiscal bills. Non-fiscal bills must be heard and reported by policy committees the following Friday, July 6, prior to the Legislature breaking for their summer recess. With the upcoming deadlines, the Legislature faces two busy weeks ahead.
Below, we highlight significant actions taken on bills this week. For a full update, our CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
AB 626 (E. Garcia) as amended on June 21, 2018 – Oppose
Despite strong public health and environmental health testimony in opposition to the measure, AB 626 passed the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday on a 7-0 vote; two committee members abstained. During the hearing, Senate Health Committee Chairman Richard Pan asked a number of questions around public health considerations and the feasibility of safely regulating the home environment.
Recall the measure would create a new type of food facility defined as a “microenterprise home kitchen” in the California Retail Food Code and allow the sale of potentially hazardous foods directly to consumers in private homes. CHEAC, along with our county colleagues, continues to oppose the measure due to increased risk of foodborne illness and challenges in safely regulating and inspecting home kitchens. AB 626 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Drug and Alcohol Services
AB 2760 (Wood) as amended June 20, 2018 – Support
AB 2760 by Assembly Member Jim Wood was advanced from the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. The measure would require prescribers to offer to patients at an increased risk of opioid overdose a prescription for naloxone or other FDA-approved drug for opioid overdose reversal. Prescribers would also be required to provide to specified patients education on overdose prevention and the use of naloxone.
Health Coverage/Health Care Reform
SB 974 (Lara) as amended on May 25, 2018 – Support
Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB 974 was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday. SB 974 would expand full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all undocumented adults 65 years of age and older with income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Recall, the Legislature’s recently passed 2018-19 Budget did not include any funding for expanded Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented individuals, setting up an uncertain fate for SB 974. The measure now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 2965 (Arambula) as amended May 25, 2018 – Support
AB 2965 by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula was heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday. The measure is part of the bill proposal package by the Assembly Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage and would expand full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all undocumented adults under the age of 26 with income at or below 138 percent FPL. Similar to SB 974, this measure faces an uncertain fate after the recent budget package did not include funding for such Medi-Cal expansion. AB 2965 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness Promotion
SB 1192 (Monning) as amended June 12, 2018 – Support
SB 1192 by Senator Bill Monning was advanced by the Assembly Health Committee this week. The measure would require restaurants selling a children’s meal to make the default beverage with that meal either water or an unflavored milk/milk alternative. CHEAC supports the measure as a tool to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among children in California. SB 1192 now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health
AB 2289 (Weber) as amended on June 7, 2018 – Support
Assembly Member Shirley Weber’s AB 2289 was heard in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. The measure would set forth accommodation rights of pregnant and parenting pupils and require school districts to allow a minimum of eight weeks of parental leave for pregnant and parenting pupils. AB 2289 would specify that schools may not require these pupils to complete academic work or other school assignments during their parental leave and would require schools to provide these pupils an opportunity to make up missed academic work upon their return to school. The measure now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
On Monday, the Legislature passed nine additional budget trailer bills, most notably the health and human services omnibus bills. Recall last Friday, the Legislature passed the main 2018-19 budget bill and a handful of related trailer bills, meeting the June 15 constitutional deadline for passing a budget.
As highlighted in last week’s CHEAC budget memo, the health omnibus bill (AB 1810) included several public health- and health care-related funding and language provisions such as the California Perinatal Equity Initiative, needle exchange program authorization, Council on Health Care Delivery Systems, and the Health Care Cost Transparency Database.
The human services omnibus (AB 1811) included funding for the CalWORKs Home Visiting Initiative Program and the California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Project, among a number of other significant human services-related investments.
The budget trailer bills passed on Monday are now with Governor Jerry Brown, where he has 30 days to take action on the bills. Please note, a handful of trailer bills are still awaiting legislative action including No Place Like Home, Proposition 56 Medi-Cal Funding and Disaster Response.
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an $867 billion Farm Bill Reauthorization (H.R. 2) on a 213-211 vote. The measure, which encompasses wide-ranging topics such as nutrition assistance, agricultural research, crop subsidies, and rural development, faced a tumultuous journey in making it through the House. Recall last month, the Farm Bill failed passage after members of the House Freedom Caucus came out against GOP leadership after the measure became entangled with an unrelated debate over immigration.
H.R. 2 includes significant modifications to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed). The measure would consolidate SNAP-Ed funding with the existing Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and shift funding from state and local agencies to state land grant universities. In California, a large portion of SNAP-Ed funding goes to the California Department of Public Health, and in turn, to local health departments. The arrangement has allowed SNAP-Ed programming and activities to occur in virtually all jurisdictions throughout the state in thousands of community-based sites.
Also included in H.R.2 are provisions that would modify SNAP work requirements and eligibility modifications. The measure increases the age for work requirements, now proposing to require all able-bodied adults between 18 and 59 years old to work or be enrolled in a job training program for at least 20 hours per week to remain eligible for benefits. Beneficiaries that are elderly, disabled, or pregnant would be exempt from these requirements.
The Senate has its own version of the Farm Bill Reauthorization, which does not include modifications to SNAP or SNAP-Ed. The Senate’s measure could be voted upon as early as next week and passage is widely expected. Significant challenges are anticipated when the two measures head to conference where they must be reconciled by both houses. With the current Farm Bill set to expire on September 30, it remains to be seen how Congress will act on this major piece of legislation.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has launched the “Bigger Choices” campaign, which focuses on how teens are talking about cannabis and how it impacts their lives. “Bigger Choices” addresses cannabis use among Los Angeles County teens by educating them on the health effects and other impacts using peer-to-peer dialogue. A “Bigger Choices” program toolkit is also available and includes a number of resources such as content and social media messaging, data presentations, video links, promotional materials, and other web resources.
Should you have questions related to accessing the materials or using the “Bigger Choices” campaign, please contact Rachel Tyree at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) recently released a new communications toolkit for local health departments and other community-based organizations to educate and inform their communities about the benefits of water fluoridation. NACCHO’s website also features comprehensive resources, including fluoridation fact sheets, common myth busters, and web-ready social media messages. The toolkit is available here.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a funding opportunity available to local health departments for a five-year Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative to improve health, prevent chronic diseases, and reduce health disparities for local communities.
Applicants must focus on evidenced-based strategies associated with tobacco, nutrition, physical activity, and/or community-clinical collaborations that lead to reduced health disparities in chronic conditions of hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. The application deadline is Tuesday, July 17. More information on this funding opportunity is available here.