Legislature Maintains Busy Committee Hearing Schedule

The California State Senate and Assembly this week maintained a steady pace of policy committee hearings as legislators approach upcoming bill deadlines and its month-long summer recess, set to begin upon the Legislature’s adjournment on July 16.

Of note this week, Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders today announced a three-party agreement on AB 832 (Chiu) which proposes to extend the state’s current eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021. Under the agreement, the state is anticipated to utilize the more than $5 billion in federal rental assistance to ensure tenants and vulnerable households remained housed. The agreement reached today expands rental assistance, increases reimbursement to 100 percent for past due rent and prospective payments for tenants and landlords, ensures rental assistance dollars remain in California, and uses the judicial process to ensure tenants and landlords have attempted to obtain rental assistance. The Legislature is anticipated to take up the bill for vote next week.

While agreement on a budget deal for the upcoming fiscal year remains elusive, the Governor and legislative leaders are reportedly hammering out final funding details with only days to spare. The California Legislature is anticipated to put into print its “Budget Bill Jr.” today that amends the year’s Budget Act and updates various appropriations for state programs and services pursuant to the anticipated agreement between the Assembly, Senate, and the Governor. CHEAC will continue to keep its Members apprised of relevant budget developments.

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

Access to Health Services

SB 316 (Eggman) as Introduced February 4, 2021 – SUPPORT

SB 316 by Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman was advanced from Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on consent this week. This measure would authorize Medi-Cal reimbursement for a maximum of two visits on the same day at a single FQHC or RHC location if: 1) after the first visit the patient experiences an illness or injury requiring additional treatment and/or diagnosis 2) the patient has a medical, mental health, or dental visit.

Communicable Disease Control

SB 306 (Pan) as amended June 23, 2021 – SUPPORT

Senator Richard Pan’s SB 306 would expand access to various services addressing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including provisions allowing pharmacists to provide expedited partner treatment (EPT) for STDs, requiring private and public health insurance coverage to cover home STD kits, adding EPT treatment liability protections for health care providers when diagnosing and treating STDs, requiring specified health care professionals to provide syphilis screening and testing, allowing HIV counselors to perform rapid STD tests, and allowing Family PACT program reimbursements for STD-related services to uninsured individuals, income-eligible patients, or insured patients with confidentiality concerns. SB 306 was advanced out of Assembly Health Committee on a 12-2 vote with one member not voting and now moves on to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.

SB 744 (Glazer) as amended June 24, 2021 – OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED

SB 744, authored by Senator Steve Glazer, would require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), upon an appropriation by the Legislature, to create a program to provide for the expedited release, during a declared public health emergency, of specified health care data to researchers of specified institutions of higher education. The bill would also require any electronic tool used by a local health officer for reporting communicable disease cases to include the capacity to collect and report data on the type of housing where the patient resides, the number of people in the patient’s household, and occupation and workplace of the patient, and a relevant travel history based on the disease course. SB 744 was advanced from Assembly Health Committee on a 11-0 vote with four members not voting and now moves on to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Drug and Alcohol Services

AB 381 (Davies) as amended June 14, 2021 – SUPPORT

AB 381 by Assembly Member Laura Davies would require licensed adult alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities to administer naloxone hydrochloride or any opioid antagonist approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of an opioid overdose. AB 381 was advanced from the Senate Health Committee to the Senate Judiciary Committee on consent this week.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

SB 56 (Durazo) as amended June 14, 2021 – SUPPORT

Senator Maria Elena Durazo’s SB 56 was advanced this week out of the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on an 11-3 vote with one member not voting. SB 56 would expand Medi-Cal coverage to all undocumented adults 60 years of age and older with incomes at or below 138 percent FPL, effective July 2022, subject to appropriation by the Legislature.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Services

SB 65 (Skinner) as amended June 14, 2021 – SUPPORT IF AMENDED

SB 65, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner, would implement various maternal health-related activities and services, including extended Medi-Cal eligibility for postpartum individuals, doula services in Medi-Cal, economic supports for low-income pregnant persons, and nurse midwife training, among other items. SB 65 establishes the Maternal Morbidity Review Committee within the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and sets forth additional requirements for jurisdictions related to infant death investigations and reporting. SB 65 was heard in Assembly Health Committee this week and was passed with a 11-2 vote with two members not voting. The bill will now be heard next week in the Assembly Human Services Committee. CHEAC has taken a “support if amended” position to ensure adequate funding for local health departments in carrying out fetal and infant mortality review (FIMR) activities.

Tobacco Control

SB 395 (Caballero) as amended May 3, 2021 – SUPPORT

SB 395 by Senator Anna Caballero would impose a 12.5 percent tax on the retail sale of electronic cigarettes in California and allocate tax revenue to Proposition 99, Proposition 10, and Proposition 56 accounts. A portion of the revenues would also be allocated to the Health Careers Opportunity Grant Program. CHEAC is joined by CSAC in supporting this measure, which was passed this week by the Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee on an 8-1 vote with two members not voting. The bill now moves to the Assembly Health Committee.