June 26, 2020 Edition

Legislature Finalizes Budget Actions Ahead of July 1 Fiscal Year Beginning

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom and Legislative leaders announced the parties reached an agreement on a final budget deal for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Recall, last week, the Legislature passed a budget blueprint meeting the constitutional deadline to pass a budget bill by June 15; however, the majority of the details of the blueprint remained outstanding

The series of budget trailer bills were placed into print on Monday afternoon, allowing the Senate and Assembly the opportunity to act upon the measures after satisfying the constitutional 72-hour in-print rule later in the week. The Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee convened a lengthy hearing on Wednesday afternoon to review all budget trailer bills and receive presentations from the Department of Finance (DOF). After hours of deliberation, the committee concluded its work around midnight on Wednesday evening, allowing the full Senate to take up all trailer bills on Thursday afternoon.

With the Assembly called back to Sacramento from its summer recess to act on budget measures, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight, and Program Evaluation convened this morning for an informational hearing on 19 budget trailer bills. The subcommittee similarly received presentations from DOF and deliberated the contents of the budget trailer bills. This afternoon, the Assembly advanced budget trailer bills, including health and public health related items, to Governor Newsom’s desk.

The series of budget trailer bills now head to Governor Gavin Newsom where he is expected to act upon all measures ahead of the July 1 fiscal year beginning next week. CHEAC Staff prepared a memo and a handful of trailer bill summaries available to CHEAC Members:

For additional budget information, please visit our 2020 Budget Advocacy page.

Newsom Declares Budget Emergency, Allows Access to Rainy Day Fund

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring a statewide budget emergency, making available additional resources to fund the state’s ongoing emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Governor’s Office, the move will further ensure the availability of funding for personal protective equipment (PPE), medical equipment and other related expenditures necessary to support a potential hospital surge, and ensure the delivery of services to vulnerable Californians.

Notably, the proclamation allows the Legislature to pass a measure allowing the state to draw down reserves from the state’s rainy day fund to meet the unprecedented economic crisis and the state’s $54.3 billion budget deficit ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor’s proclamation is available here.

Senate Meets House of Origin Deadline, Flavored Tobacco Ban Measure Advances

Today, the California State Senate met its deadline to advance measures introduced in their house of origin, concluding a busy week of floor sessions throughout the week. While the bulk of the Legislature’s focus remained on the 2020 Budget Act this week, the Senate deliberated and advanced numerous measures to the Assembly for further consideration.

Recall, the Assembly began its summer recess upon adjournment of session last Friday, June 19. However, the Assembly was called back to Sacramento today to finish its work on remaining budget trailer bills prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Below, we highlight several bills of interest to CHEAC Members. For a full update, the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.

Tobacco Control

SB 793 (Hill) as amended June 18, 2020 – SUPPORT

Senator Jerry Hill’s SB 793 on Thursday was advanced from the Senate Floor to the Assembly on a 33-4 vote with three members not voting. Recall, the measure would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, statewide. The measure was recently amended in the Senate Appropriations Committee to exempt flavored shisha tobacco products sold by hookah tobacco retailers.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

SB 862 (Dodd) as amended June 18, 2020 – WATCH

SB 862 by Senator Bill Dodd was passed to the Assembly on a unanimous 40-0 vote on Thursday. The measure would add a deenergization event as a condition qualifying a state or local emergency in statute. SB 862 also expands existing law defining what electrical corporations must include in their wildfire mitigation plans by including consideration for those with access and functional needs (AFN). Electrical corporations would be required to coordinate with local governments in its service territory to identify sites in jurisdictions where community resource centers can be established and operated during a deenergization event and the level of services that will be available at the centers.

Newsom Administration Makes Available COVID-19 Data, Modeling Tools

Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced the availability of a series of COVID-19 tools, technology, and data that will allow scientists, researchers, technologists, and all California residents to better understand the impact of the pandemic. Included in the release of tools is the California COVID Assessment Tool (CalCAT) that contains assessments of the spread of COVID-19, short-term forecasts of disease trends, and scenarios that may occur under varying conditions. The Administration also made available the CalCAT source code and directed the state’s COVID-19 data to be open and machine-readable by default.

According to the Newsom Administration, the goal of making available the data is to “refine California’s and our counties’ insights and knowledge, and to spur collaboration with other states and researchers.” The CalCAT tool is available at www.calcat.covid19.ca.gov and the source code for the tool is available here.

NACCHO, CDC to Hold COVID-19 Webinar with Local Health Departments

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will hold a webinar on Thursday, July 2 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm for local health officials and preparedness coordinators to discuss the national-local response to COVID-19. The goals of the webinar include:

  • Learn how to request information on hot-spot deployments and direct assistance from CDC
  • Learn about CDC’s current and planned efforts, including on addressing hotspot and providing reopening guidance
  • Share insights on local issues and pose questions to help inform national and local response efforts
  • Directly engage CDC on opportunities for local health officials related to COVID-19 response
  • Offer an opportunity to ask questions and engage in open discussions

CDC COVID-19 Deputy Incident Manager Celeste Philip will be featured as a guest speaker during the call. Registration for the webinar is available here.

Trump Administration Petitions Supreme Court to Strike Down Affordable Care Act

At the eleventh hour on Thursday evening, the Trump Administration filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety is unconstitutional after Congress eliminated the individual tax penalty in late 2017. In the brief, Solicitor General Noel Francisco stated that all other remaining provisions of the ACA are unable to be separated from the individual mandate penalty, declaring that “the entire ACA thus must fall with the individual mandate.”  

Recall, the ACA case before the U.S. Supreme Court began when a coalition of 20 states, led by Texas, argued for the elimination of the entire ACA after Congress eliminated the tax penalty. The Texas coalition case was consolidated with another case brought by 17 states, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, seeking to protect the sweeping health reform law. 

California Attorney General Becerra in a statement noted, “The ACA has been life-changing and now through this pandemic, we can all see the value in having greater access to quality healthcare at affordable prices. Now is not the time to rip away our best tool to address very real and very deadly health disparities in our communities.” The Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans maintain their intent to “repeal and replace” the ACA but have yet to offer such legislation to replace the act should it be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Since its inception, the ACA has covered over 20 million Americans and sharply reduced figures of uninsured individuals. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the case as early as October.

DHCS Releases Draft of Medi-Cal Long-Term Care at Home Benefit Design

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the California Department of Aging (CDA) on Wednesday released the first draft of the Medi-Cal Long-Term Care at Home benefit design for public comment. The document provides a more detailed overview of Long-Term Care at Home, including its key goals, target populations, model of care, financing structure, federal authority, and public stakeholder process.

Two remaining public stakeholder meetings will be held via telephone and webinar to discuss the proposal on July 17 and July 31. Additional information, including the drafted design, is available here.

Newsom Issues Executive Order Related to COVID-19

Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday issued Executive Order N-70-20 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The order extends a waiver that allows retailers to temporarily pause in-store redemption of beverage containers and temporarily suspends the requirement for recycling centers to hold a minimum number hours of operation.