One Week Remains before Legislature’s Spring Recess

With one week remaining before its one-week spring recess, the California Legislature continues with its busy spring, amending bills and scheduling and holding policy committee hearings. The CHEAC Legislative Committee met last Friday to review the second batch bills introduced in 2018 and identified nearly 60 new bills that have an impact on public health and local health departments. These new bills are indicated in the latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart.

Below, we highlight actions taken on bills in the Legislature this week:

Tobacco Control

SB 835 (Glazer) as amended March 5, 2018 – Support

SB 836 (Glazer) as amended March 5, 2018 – Support

Both of Senator Steven Glazer’s tobacco bills were heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee earlier this week.  Recall that last year Senator Glazer’s SB 386 banned smoking and the disposal of cigarette/cigar waste at all state coastal beaches and state parks and was vetoed by Governor Brown who noted the fines in the bill were excessive and there must be limits to the “coercive” power of government.  This year, Senator Glazer has split his smoking ban proposals into two bills – SB 835 bans smoking in all state parks and SB 836 bans all smoking on state coastal beaches – and he has reduced the fines for violations in response to the Governor’s veto.

In Committee, most members were generally favorable to the bills although Senator Stone did express some skepticism, particularly on the inclusion of vaping since one of the arguments the Senator and environmental proponents have made is due to cigarette filter litter. Both bills passed out of committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee as amended with clarifying amendments on the use of tobacco for good faith religious practice or for ceremonial purposes.

Injury Prevention

SB 905 (Wiener) as introduced January 17, 2018 – Watch

Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 905 was heard in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee this week. SB 905 would require the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to conduct a five-year pilot program to issue additional hour license permits to allow specified bars and nightclubs to remain open until 4:00 am in the cities of Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and Long Beach. For one of the six cities to acquire additional hour license permits, local governing boards of cities must convene a task force to study and develop a local plan related to public health and public safety matters.

Recall, Senator Wiener proposed a similar measure last year which would have authorized ABC to issue additional hours permits to any local jurisdiction. This year’s measure significantly limits the jurisdictions and increases reporting requirements.

During this week’s hearing, advocates of the measure highlighted the ability of increased economic development and enhanced nightlife opportunities if bars and nightclubs could remain open until 4:00 am, while opponents raised concerns over increased alcohol consumption and potential for increased drunken driving and injuries. The measure was passed as amended by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee.