Senate and Assembly Policy Committee Hearings Underway

This week, the California State Senate and Assembly maintained a steady schedule of policy committee hearings, considering new measures introduced this year. A handful of budget subcommittees will meet over the next week, but most have largely wrapped up their work until the Governor’s May Revise Budget release in mid-May.

On Thursday, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon issued a statement announcing a measure to extend through June 30, 2022, pandemic-related eviction protections for residents who are participating in rental assistance programs will receive quick action in both the Senate and Assembly. Under current law, state eviction protections are set to expire next week on Friday, April 1, just one day after the March 31 deadline for residents to apply for state rental relief. The measure maintains the March 31 application deadline but would protect residents from eviction action while the state processes relief applications. The measure also prohibits local governments from enacting their own eviction protections until July 1, at the earliest.

In other news this week, Governor Newsom signed into law SB 245 (Gonzalez) prohibiting health plans and insurers from imposing a copay, deductible, or other cost-sharing requirement or utilization management practice for abortion and abortion-related services. In signing the law, Governor Newsom reiterated California’s commitment to protecting reproductive health choices.

This week also brought more proposals related to addressing the high price of gasoline statewide. Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled an $11 billion proposal to provide $400 in direct payments per vehicle (up to two vehicles) to residents, $750 million in incentive grants to transit agencies to provide free transit for three months, $600 million to pause part of the diesel sales tax, and $523 million to pause the inflationary adjustment to gasoline tax rates. This proposal comes as a series of other proposals have been offered from legislators, including an attempt by Republican lawmakers to immediately suspend the gas tax and others by Democratic lawmakers to provide cash payments to specified residents. At this time, it remains unclear how the Legislature and Administration will work together to address the price of gasoline.

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

Built Environment & Climate Change

AB 2076 (L. Rivas) as amended March 23, 2022 – SUPPORT IN CONCEPT

Assembly Bill 2076 by Assembly Member Luz Rivas was heard on Monday in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. AB 2076 sets forth a variety of actions related to extreme heat, including the Extreme Heat Hospitalization and Death Reporting System, the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program, a chief heat officer and heat advisory council, and updates to the state’s Extreme Heat Action Plan. This measure is sponsored by the Climate Resolve and was advanced to the Assembly Health Committee on a 10-0 vote with one member not voting.

Chronic Disease Prevention & Wellness Promotion

AB 1618 (Aguiar-Curry) as amended March 8, 2022 – SUPPORT IF AMENDED

AB 1618 authored by Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry was advanced from the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Tuesday on consent on a 14-0 vote. AB 1618 requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to establish an Office of the Healthy Brain Initiative and implement a grant program to support local initiatives consistent with the CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative.

Communicable Disease Control

SB 1234 (Pan) as introduced February 17, 2022 – SUPPORT

Senator Richard Pan’s SB 1234 was heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday. The measure would require reimbursement in the Family PACT program, subject to appropriation and draw down FFP, for STD-related services to the uninsured, income-eligible patients, or without healthcare coverage, or patients who obtain confidentiality concerns who are not at risk for pregnancy or do not need contraceptive services.  SB 1234 was advanced from the Senate Health Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 9-0 vote with two Senators not voting.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 1995 (Arambula) as amended March 24, 2022 – SUPPORT

AB 1995 would eliminate Medi-Cal premium and subscriber contributions for children, pregnant and postpartum women, and individuals with disabilities. This measure would also prohibit the department from imposing subscriber contributions for the purpose of coverage. AB 1995 was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday and now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee after receiving a 12-0 vote with two members not voting.