Rollercoaster Legislative Session Nears Completion, Landmark Flavored Tobacco Ban Bill Signed by Governor

In a legislative year that has constantly changed, this week was no different. On Wednesday, the Senate cancelled their planned floor session due to a member of their chamber testing positive for COVID-19. Despite the positive case in the Senate, the Assembly elected to continue their scheduled hearings and floor session. On Thursday, the Senate reconvened on their floor absent all members of the Republican Caucus, but one, as the remainder had all been exposed to the positive senator during a caucus luncheon and were self-quarantined in their Sacramento residences.

This morning, the Senate reconvened in their chamber with allowances made for Republican senators to participate remotely. As the Senate has the lion’s share of bills being considered in the last days of this year’s session, they will convene on Saturday as well. The Assembly is scheduled to reconvene on their floor Sunday afternoon. Please recall this is the second year of the Legislature’s two-year session and will end on Monday, August 31, upon adjournment.

Senator Jerry Hill took up his SB 793, that bans the sale or possession with the intent to sell flavored tobacco products or tobacco product flavor enhancers, including flavored “vaping” products and menthol cigarettes, on the Senate Floor this morning for its final concurrence vote. The measure advanced to the Governor on a 34-0 vote. Already this afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the measure into law.

The latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here. Below are a few of the bills of interest CHEAC is keeping an eye on during the last days of session.

Communicable Disease Control

AB 685 (Reyes) Watch with Concerns – On Senate Floor

Requires all private and public employers to notify all in writing employees, when notified of a potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace, that they may have been exposed. Employers also required to report names, the number of employees, and occupation, of those infected with COVID-19, to their local health department (LHD). CDPH required to post that information on their public website and requires LHDs to link to that posted information on their local website.

Emergency Medical Services

AB 1544 (Gipson) Neutral – On Senate Floor

AB 1544, that would allow counties to establish community paramedicine and triage to alternate transport programs, was revived on the Senate Floor this week with amendments. The most substantive amendments split apart the governance of the community paramedicine aspects of the measure and the triage to alternate destination components. Of note, the bill requires local emergency medical services agencies (LEMSAs) to provide a first right of refusal to any public agency transport provider when establishing a community paramedicine program. If a LEMSA elects to establish a triage to alternate destination program, they must include all ALS providers that operate within the program jurisdiction; allows for an ALS provider to opt out of the program and includes ability for public agencies to contract with private providers or for private providers to enter into agreements with public agencies to provide these services.