May 31, 2019 Edition

Budget Conference Committee Begins Deliberations, Aims to Complete Work Next Week

On Thursday, the Budget Conference Committee, comprised of five Senators and five Assembly Members, convened to begin its work to reconcile differences in budget packages approved by Senate and Assembly budget committees. Conference Committee Chair Senator Holly Mitchell opened the hearing by detailing the work ahead of the committee, which includes a great deal of work within a tight timeline. The conference committee aims to wrap up its deliberations and actions by the end of next week.

Senator Mitchell noted that the two budget frameworks adopted by the Senate and Assembly “are not that far apart” and include similar revenue estimates and prioritization of investments in education, health, and housing. Conference Committee Vice Chair Assembly Member Phil Ting indicated that “90-plus percent” of the budget is already complete, reflecting the shared input and values of the Legislature, Administration, and the people of the state of California.

Thursday’s hearing featured an overview of budget packages approved by both houses and issues to be considered by the Budget Conference Committee, presented by the Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek. Petek, in his remarks, detailed the role of the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) in the conference committee process, underscored the current strong economic status in California, and warned of the potential for an economic recession in the coming years.

After receiving the overview of issues from the LAO and Department of Finance (DOF), the conference committee began its consideration of K-12 and Higher Education issues, which continued into today. The conference committee is also working through Resources and Transportation issues today and is set to continue its deliberations through next week on Health and Human Services, State Administration and General Government, and Public Safety, Corrections, and the Judiciary issues beginning on Monday. Items to be considered by the conference committee by subject area are available here.

Legislature Reaches House of Origin Deadline, Policy Committees to Resume Hearings Next Week

Today marks the deadline for the California Legislature to pass bills out of their house of origin. Both the Senate and Assembly this week were in floor sessions only, maintaining a steady pace of floor debate and votes each day. Measures passed out of their house of origin will now be considered through the committee hearing process in the opposite house beginning next week.

Below, we highlight several actions of interest from this week. The full CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.

Drug & Alcohol Services

AB 1031 (Nazarian) as amended May 16, 2019 – SUPPORT

Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian’s AB 1031 was advanced from the Assembly to the Senate on Tuesday on a 74-0 vote with six members not voting. The measure would direct the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), in collaboration with counties and SUD service providers, to establish regulations regarding community-based nonresidential and residential treatment and recovery programs for youth under 21 years of age.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

AB 1544 (Gipson) as amended May 16, 2019 – OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED

Assembly Member Mike Gipson’s AB 1544 was advanced from the Assembly to the Senate on Wednesday on a 68-3 vote with nine members not voting. AB 1544 would allow local emergency medical services agencies (LEMSAs) to develop local community paramedicine programs and would require LEMSAs to use or establish local emergency medical care committees (EMCCs). The measure also establishes the Community Paramedicine Medical Oversight Committee to advise the EMS Authority on and to approve minimum medical protocols for all community paramedicine programs, among other activities. CHEAC, along with CSAC, UCC, RCRC, EMSAAC, and EMDAC, is in an oppose unless amended position on the measure.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 50 (Kalra) as amended April 25, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 50 by Assembly Member Ash Kalra was passed by the Assembly on Tuesday on a 76-0 vote with four members not voting. The measure would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) an amendment request to expand the Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) program in California. The measure now heads to the Senate.

AB 414 (Bonta) as amended May 17, 2019 – SUPPORT

Assembly Member Rob Bonta’s AB 414 would establish a state-level individual health insurance coverage mandate in California and require Covered California to determine a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance. Penalty revenue would be directed toward improving the affordability of health coverage in California. AB 414 was passed on Wednesday from the Assembly to the Senate on a 55-18 vote with seven members not voting.

SB 175 (Pan) as amended April 3, 2019 – SUPPORT

Similar to AB 414, SB 175 by Senator Richard Pan would also establish a state-level individual health insurance coverage mandate with financial penalties for not obtaining health insurance. Penalty revenues would be directed to the Health Care Coverage Penalty Fund and also directed to Covered California operational costs of administering the individual mandate and financial assistance program. SB 175 would further require Covered California to conduct specified annual outreach and enrollment efforts among individuals who do not maintain minimum essential coverage. Senator Pan moved SB 175 to the Senate Inactive File on Wednesday, where the measure will be held until further notice.

AB 4 (Arambula) as amended May 17, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 4 by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula would, contingent upon an appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or other measure, expand full-scope Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults with an income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). The measure was passed by the Assembly to the Senate on Tuesday on a 51-17 vote with 12 members not voting.

SB 29 (Durazo) as amended May 21, 2019 – SUPPORT

Similarly, SB 29 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo would, subject to an appropriation by the Legislature, expand full-scope Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults 19-25 years of age those 65 years of age and older with incomes at or below 138 percent FPL. The measure would also expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to individuals beyond 26 years of age in each subsequent year by one year until 65 years of age. SB 29 was passed by the Senate to the Assembly on a 24-11 vote with three members not voting.