Legislature Continues Busy Schedule of Policy Committee Hearings, Governor Approves Wildfire Spending

This week, the California State Senate and Assembly continued with a series of policy committee hearings, amending measures and advancing bills through the legislative process. Recall, the Legislature has two weeks to hear and report any bills with fiscal implications in their houses of origin. Bills without any fiscal implications must be heard and reported in their houses of origin by May 7.

Notably this week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a $536 million early action budget package to enable to state to take urgent action on projects supporting wildfire suppression, improving forest health, and building wildfire resilience in communities. The measure, SB 85, was signed into law alongside legislative leaders at a fuels management project in Butte County on Tuesday. Recall, the Governor and legislative leaders reached an agreement on the spending package late last week.

Below, we highlight several bills of interest to CHEAC Members, including CHEAC’s sponsored measure, AB 240. The latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.

Public Health Infrastructure

AB 240 (Rodriguez) as introduced January 13, 2021 – SPONSOR

CHEAC’s sponsored bill, AB 240 was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee this week. This measure would require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to contract with a qualified entity to evaluate the adequacy of the local health department infrastructure and make future staffing, workforce, and resource needs recommendations. AB 240 has been placed on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File.


AB 54 (Kiley) as introduced amended April 5, 2021 – OPPOSE

AB 54, by Assembly Member Kevin Kiley, was heard in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee this week. The measure would prohibit the Department of Consumer Affairs and any licensing board within the Department, except those that are healing arts, as well as the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, from revoking the license of any licensee for failure to comply with any COVID-19 emergency order without being able to prove non-compliance with emergency orders resulted in transmission of the virus. AB 54 failed to pass out of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on a vote of 6-7 with six members not voting.

SB 397 (Jones) as amended March 15, 2021 – OPPOSE

SB 397, authored by Senator Brian Jones was heard this week in the Judiciary Committee. The measure which would establish under state of emergency or local emergency to deem religious services to be an essential and necessary service. The measure would also prohibit the state and local government to discriminate against any religious organizations and allow for any religious organization to continue to operate without having to enforce any health, safety, or occupancy requirement. SB 397 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week where it failed passage 2-7 with two members not voting.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 4 (Arambula) as introduced December 7, 2020 – SUPPORT

This measure, authored by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, was heard in Assembly Health Committee this week. AB 4 would expand Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults with an income at or below 138% FPL. This measure passed out of committee on an 11-3 vote with one member not voting and now moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Health Equity

SB 17 (Pan) as amended April 5, 2021 – SUPPORT

Senator Richard Pan’s SB 17 establishes a statewide Office of Racial Equity to be governed by a Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council to organize, manage, administer, and recommend strategies for advancing racial equities. Additionally, this measure requires the office to develop a Racial Equity Action Plan that would align to the Racial Equity Framework. SB 17 passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee with an 8-1 vote with two members not voting and moves on to Senate Appropriations Committee.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Services

AB 1046 (Rubio) as introduced February 18, 2021 – SUPPORT

Assembly Member Blanca Rubio’s AB 1046 was heard this week in the Assembly Health Committee. The measure would require the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency to consult with stakeholders to improve state and counties’ ability to effectively draw down Medi-Cal funding for maternal-infant and early childhood home visiting programs. AB 1046 was advanced out of the committee on consent and now moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.