Two-Year Bill Deadline on Monday, Governor and Legislative Leaders Reach Deal on Supplemental COVID-19 Sick Leave

The California State Senate and Assembly on Monday, January 31 will reach the deadline for two-year bills to be advanced from their house of origin. Lawmakers have been busy this week working to secure amendments and votes on any remaining two-year bills prior Monday’s deadline. Several notable measures, including AB 1400 (Kalra) that would create a universal health care system in California, remain outstanding and await action on their respective floors.  

Of note this week, Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on Tuesday announced they have reached an agreement on a framework to ensure employees have access to COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave through September 30, 2022. The move is anticipated to be part of a series of early budget action items, including funding proposed to bolster COVID-19 response efforts amid the continued pandemic. Additional details on the supplemental paid sick leave agreement are expected over the coming weeks.

Below, we highlight several bills of interest this week. For a full update, the latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Update is available here.

Environmental Health

AB 257 (Holden) as amended January 27, 2022 – OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED

Assembly Member Chris Holden’s AB 257, a two-year bill, must be passed off the Assembly Floor on Monday to remain in play for the remainder of the legislative session. The measure would establish the Fast-Food Sector Council to set sector-wide minimum standards on wages, working hours, and working conditions to ensure and maintain health, safety, and welfare of fast food restaurant workers. Earlier in the week, CHEAC joined CCDEH, HOAC, and CSAC in an oppose unless amended position as oversight and regulation of wages and employment conditions falls outside of the jurisdiction of local environmental health programs.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 1355 (Levine) as amended January 13, 2022 – WATCH

AB 1355, authored by Assembly Member Marc Levine, would require Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish an Independent Medical Review (IMR) system within the Medi-Cal program for purposes of allowing Medi-Cal beneficiaries to seek a reversal of denied services. This measure would commence in January 2023. AB 1355 requires DHCS to contract with an IMR organization to conduct reviews and specifies requirements of that organization, including relative provisions to conflict of interest and quality assurance mechanisms. The measure was advanced from the Assembly Floor to the Senate on a 68-0 vote with 8 members not voting on Thursday.