Facing Sunday Deadline, Newsom Acts on Numerous Legislative Bills

Governor Gavin Newsom this week acted on a series of high-profile legislative measures just prior to his looming Sunday deadline to sign or veto measures sent to his desk by the California Legislature.

As a reminder, CHEAC will issue a final bill chart following Sunday’s sign or veto deadline detailing the outcome of all CHEAC-tracked measures during the first year of the 2021-22 Legislative Session. Below, we highlight a handful of policy areas of interest to CHEAC Members and local health departments acted upon this week:

  • COVID-19 Recovery – Today, Governor Newsom signed into law legislation aimed at supporting small businesses and establishments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures allow restaurants to continue selling to-go alcoholic drinks and offering expanded outdoor dining opportunities. Other measures signed today broaden services various health professionals can provide to patients, including bills that authorize optometrists, dentists, and podiatrists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. Additional information is available here.
  • Maternal and Infant Health – Governor Newsom on Monday signed into law SB 65 by Senator Nancy Skinner to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health statewide. The measure, known as the California Momnibus Act, aims to improve maternal and child health outcomes and strengthen services and supports to women and families. CHEAC worked closely with the author’s office and sponsors of SB 65 to ensure local health departments receive adequate resources to carry out activities related to fetal and infant mortality review processes at the local level. CHEAC was pleased to support SB 65. Additional information is available here.
  • Early Care and Education – During a visit to an elementary school in Fresno County this week, Governor Newsom signed into law measures aimed at improving early care and education services for California children. Measures signed by the Governor aim to improve access to childcare for migrant agricultural workers and enhance reporting of dual language learner students in preschools. Additional information is available here.
  • Older Adult Services – Governor Newsom also on Monday signed into law a suite of measures aimed at protecting older adults throughout the state. Measures signed by the Governor increase transparency of skilled nursing facility finances, improve access for seniors to receive annual cognitive health assessments, and expand access to videoconferencing for people living at residential care facilities for the elderly. Additional information is available here.
  • Environmental Protections – Governor Newsom signed into law measures aimed at addressing plastic pollution and protecting residents from toxic chemicals, including those prohibiting the use of PFAS in products for children and disposable food products. Other measures strengthen labeling requirements for “compostable” products and prohibit food facilities from providing single-use food accessories and condiments unless specifically requested by consumers. Additional information is available here.
  • Rural Areas – The Governor additionally highlighted a series of measures signed into law aimed at supporting rural areas of California, including a measure to establish the Farm to Community Food Hub Program to incentivize the creation of food hubs to help local and regional farms distribute goods to public institutions and nonprofit entities in nearby areas. Additional information is available here.