Legislature Concludes House of Origin Hearings, Vote by Mail Legislation Signed by Governor

This week the Legislature finished their house of origin hearings with the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting to dispense with their suspense file measures. Of interest to local health departments, SB 793, Senator Jerry Hill’s proposal to ban flavored tobacco, did pass off the suspense file (5-1) with amendments to exempt the sale of flavored shisha tobacco products by hookah tobacco retailers after strong opposition from the hookah industry. Please recall last year, Senator Hill pulled his flavored tobacco ban bill, SB 38, after the bill had hostile amendments placed in the bill to exempt hookah products. The amendments this year are more specific than those in SB 38 and make clear only shisha tobacco used in a hookah is allowable and not allowed through the use of any electronic device. Furthermore, more stringent provisions on hookah tobacco retailers are added to statute including requiring them to have valid tobacco retailer licenses, not allowing anyone under the age of 21 on their premises and complying with all relevant local and state tobacco product laws. SB 793 now moves on to the Senate Floor.

On another note, Governor Newsom signed AB 860, authored by Assembly Member Marc Berman, yesterday. AB 860 codified the Governor’s Executive Order to require all registered voters in the state to receive a mail-in ballot for the November 2020 Statewide General Election.  Last week, Governor Newsom was sued in Sutter County Superior Court by two members of the Legislature arguing that the Governor had exceeded his executive authority. The court agreed and suspended his executive order. With the passage of AB 860 – an urgency measure that went into effect immediately – the Legislature has now statutorily authorized the election to proceed in this manner.

For a full update, the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.