Legislature Returns from Spring Recess on Monday

The California State Senate and Assembly are set to return to Sacramento from their 10-day Spring Recess on Monday, April 18. Lawmakers face a busy schedule ahead, including an April 29 deadline for policy committees to hear and report to fiscal committees bills with a fiscal impact introduced in their house of origin. A similar policy committee deadline for non-fiscal bills is set for May 6.

Just beyond the two upcoming deadlines, lawmakers will receive the Governor’s May Revise Budget in mid-May, representing modifications to budget investments proposed by the Governor based on the latest available tax revenues and economic conditions. Following the release of the May Revise, Budget Subcommittees will again meet to consider new and modified budget investments.

On Wednesday, after returning from a family vacation in South and Central America, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 349 (Umberg)requiring every treatment provider in California to adopt and provide a client bill of rights, ensuring that residents seeking substance use disorder treatment are provided basic rights and protections in a treatment setting that is safe and ethical. The measure also prohibits treatment providers from engaging in false and misleading advertising. Additional information is available here.

While Sacramento was quiet this week, a notable announcement was made by Senator Richard Pan regarding SB 871, which would prohibit public and private schools and childcare and daycare centers from unconditionally admitting a pupil unless they have been fully immunized against COVID-19. The measure would have also removed an exception for full immunization against hepatitis B as a condition of admission to public and private schools and removed personal belief exemptions for additional immunizations deemed appropriate by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

In a statement announcing that he would hold the measure, Senator Pan noted:

Unfortunately, COVID vaccination rates, particularly among children, are currently insufficient, and the state needs to focus its effort on increasing access to COVID vaccinations for children through physicians and other health providers who care for children and on education efforts to give families accurate information about the COVID vaccine. Until children’s access to COVID vaccination is greatly improved, I believe that a state-wide policy to require COVID vaccinations in schools is not the immediate priority, although it is an appropriate safety policy for many school districts in communities with good vaccine access.”

Senator Pan reiterated the importance of enacting policies to protect California children from COVID and indicated he and his colleagues in the Vaccine Work Group will continue their work during the legislative session.

SB 871 now becomes the second measure relative to COVID-19 vaccines from the Vaccine Work Group to be shelved during the legislative process. Just two weeks ago, Assembly Member Buffy Wicks announced her decision to put on pause AB 1993which would have required employers to require employees and independent contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Other measures from the Vaccine Work Group, including SB 866 by Senator Scott Wiener to authorize a minor 12 years of age and older to consent to a vaccine approved by the FDA and recommended by CDC ACIP, remain in the legislative process.

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