Legislature Returns to Sacramento, Suspense File Hearings Next Week

This week, the California State Senate and Assembly returned to Sacramento from their month-long summer recess. Fiscal committees face a deadline next week to meet and report bills to their respective floors, and both the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees are set to hold suspense file hearings on measures on Thursday, August 26. During these hearings, remaining bills in play will either be held on suspense (rendering measures dead for the year) or advanced from the committee to the floor (often with amendments).

Following the actions by the fiscal committees next week, the Legislature will have two weeks of floor session only during which no committees may meet for any purpose. Lawmakers are set to adjourn for interim recess on September 10, just four days before the Gubernatorial Recall Election.

In other legislative news this week, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on Monday distributed a memo to all Assembly employees requiring vaccination against COVID-19 by September 1. Medical and religious exemptions are available to employees, and violations of the requirement may result in termination, per Speaker Rendon.

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

Tobacco Control

AB 541 (Berman) as amended April 12, 2021 – SUPPORT

Assembly Member Marc Berman’s AB 541 was granted final legislative approval this week when the Assembly voted 77-0 (with two members not voting) to concur in the Senate’s amendments to the measure. AB 541 would require alcoholism and substance use disorder recovery and treatment facilities licensed by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to assess each patient and client for tobacco use at the time of initial intake. If tobacco use disorder is identified, the facility or program is required to provide specified information, including an offer or referral for tobacco use disorder treatment. AB 541 now heads to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom.