2021 - 2022 Legislation

Here is a list of my legislative efforts in the first year of the 2021-22 legislative session. Legislation introduced in 2022 will be added soon. Please click on the bill number for detailed information including bill text, status and analyses.

AB 9-Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation. This bill creates a new branch within the Office of the State Fire Marshal that will focus exclusively on community fire prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts of CAL FIRE. It will move eight existing programs and duties currently spread throughout CAL FIRE to this new branch. Additionally, the bill requires that all program staff and leadership dedicated to these programs be the last activated to respond to wildfire suppression missions.

AB 9 codifies the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program (RFFC), which received $50 million dollars in the 2021 early budget action. By providing flexible block grants, the RFFC supports regional entities that work with local, state and federal partners to develop a pipeline of wildland and fuel reduction projects that are part of a coordinated strategy across the region and state.

The Governor signed this bill on September 23, 2021.

AB 41-Broadband. Broadband companies have been reluctant to build or invest in infrastructure in many rural markets where there are fewer customers, and thus, less profit. Many states use what is referred to as a “dig once” policy to maximize broadband deployment and can be accomplished by leveraging new and ongoing roadwork and excavations, often along major thoroughfares, by installing conduit for telecommunications infrastructure at the same time. In 2016, AB 1549 (Wood) required the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to notify companies working on broadband deployment of DOT-led highway construction projects and authorized those companies to coordinate on conduit installation.

AB 41 requires DOT, as part of projects funded by $5.25 billion in the recently passed Budget Act of 2021 and that are located in priority (mostly rural) areas, to ensure that construction includes the installation of conduits capable of supporting fiber optic communication cables. The new law also requires the California Public Utilities Commission, in collaboration with other relevant state agencies and stakeholders, to maintain and update a statewide, publicly accessible interactive map showing the accessibility of broadband service in the state. This bill will improve California’s dig once policy and expedite the deployment of broadband infrastructure.

The Governor signed this bill on October 8, 2021.

AB 493-Health Insurance. This bill was introduced to respond, if necessary, to a Supreme Court decision on the future of the ACA and its possible impact on Californians’ health care coverage through the ACA.

This bill did not move forward because in June 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of maintaining ACA's constitutionality.

AB 510-Out-of-Network Health Care Benefits. This bill was introduced to reconcile the consumer friendly consent requirements set forth in the federal “No Surprises Act (Act),” passed in December 2020 with California’s 2016 surprise balance billing legislation. Under federal law, a patient can consent 72 hours in advance to receive care from certain types of non-contracted providers. Existing California law allows consent 24 hours in advance if given in writing.

This bill did not move forward in 2021.

AB 526-Vaccine Administration. As seen in the COVID pandemic, it is essential that all qualified health care providers be utilized to administer vaccinations in order to prevent spreading the virus. This bill authorizes a dentist or podiatrist who complies with specified requirements, to independently prescribe and administer influenza and COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration for persons 3 years of age or older.

The Governor signed this bill on October 8, 2021.

AB 527-Controlled Substances. The bill substitutes the term “cannabinoid” for the term “cannabidiol” in Section 11150.2 of the Health and Safety Code. This change in law ensures that patients can access cannabinoid medications that have gone through the rigorous FDA review and approval process and have been rescheduled under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The Governor signed this bill on October 7, 2021.

AB 532-Fair Billing Policies. Existing law requires a hospital to maintain an understandable written policy regarding discount payments for financially qualified patients as well as a written charity care policy, and requires a hospital to negotiate the terms of a discount payment plan with an eligible patient. Existing law requires each hospital to provide patients with written notice about the availability of the hospital’s discount payment and charity care policies, including information about eligibility and contact information for a hospital employee or office from which the patient may obtain further information about the policies.

This bill would additionally require the written patient notice to include the internet address of a health consumer assistance entity and information regarding Covered California and Medi-Cal presumptive eligibility. The bill also would require the written patient notice to include the internet address for the hospital’s list of “shoppable” services, pursuant to a specified federal regulation. The bill would require the notice to be provided at the time of service if the patient is conscious and able to receive written notice at that time, or at other designated times, as appropriate.

Existing law generally requires a hospital, upon the request of a person without health coverage, to provide a written estimate of the amount the hospital will require a person without health coverage to pay for the health care services, procedures, and supplies that are reasonably expected to be provided to the person. Existing law also requires the hospital to provide the person with an application form for financial assistance or charity care, if the person requests the form. This bill would require the hospital to automatically provide the person with an estimate and an application form for financial assistance or charity care, without need for a specific request.

The Governor signed this bill on October 4, 2021.

AB 817-Fishing Licenses. Since 1980, annual resident sport fishing license sales have declined 55 percent while the state’s population has increased more than 60 percent. California has one of the country’s longest coastlines, more than 3,000 lakes and thousands of rivers and streams, but has the lowest fishing participation rate per capita in the country and continues to decline. A leading contributor to declining fishing participation rates is that licenses are only valid until December 31 of each year, regardless of the date of purchase. This bill authorizes the Director of California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife to transition the calendar-based fishing license to one that is valid a full 365 days from the date of purchase. The law also authorizes the department to allow the option to display a sport fishing license electronically on a mobile device.

The Governor signed this bill on October 7, 2021.

AB 852-Nurse Practitioners. AB 890 (Wood), allowing nurse practitioners meeting certain requirements to practice within their scope without the supervision of a physician, was passed in 2020. AB 852 was introduced to provide clarification to the new law, if required.

This bill did not move forward in 2021.

AB 872-Leave of Absence-Firefighters. AB 872 would authorize firefighters employed by CAL FIRE to receive 100 percent of their average wage for up to one year if they are injured through work, raising it from the 67 percent they currently receive on disability.  It would only apply to those employees who are directly involved in fire suppression or prevention efforts and after one year they would be eligible for the standard disability. This would bring CAL FIRE firefighters up to par with firefighters employed with local fire departments and also other public safety employees.

The Governor vetoed this bill. You can read the veto message here.

AB 875-Medi-Cal Demonstration Project. AB 875 would implement the proposed Medi-Cal hospital financing and enrollment-related changes contained in Governor Newsom’s California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposal. These changes include ensuring youth and adults being released from county correctional facilities are assisted with applying for health coverage through Medi-Cal and Covered California, continuing the hospital Global Payment Program that incentivizes coverage for the remaining uninsured at lower cost settings, and the extension of performance-based incentive payments to district and municipal hospitals.

This bill was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 942-CalAIM Initiative. This bill would implement the proposed Medi-Cal behavioral health changes contained in Governor Newsom’s California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) proposals. These changes include revisions to the existing medical necessity requirements to ensure the timely provision of care, and a redesign of the financing of specialty mental health services and substance use disorder services in the Medi-Cal program in order to increase access to those services, ease the administrative burden of the program and provide greater financing certainty. To help prepare counties and health care providers for implementation of the multiple behavioral health changes that are part of ​​​the waiver proposal, this bill would establish a Behavioral Health Quality Improvement Program.

This bill did not move forward in 2021.

AB 1130-Office of Health Care Affordability. This bill will create the Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA), an entity that would collect and analyze the entire health care market for cost drivers and trends in order to develop data-informed policies, establishing cost targets for lowering and controlling health care costs, with the ultimate goal of providing quality and affordable health care to all Californians. In 2021, with the support of Governor Newsom’s Administration, discussions of the legislation moved to the development of budget trailer language and engaged stakeholders in extensive discussions. Those discussions paused. Although some progress was made, an agreement was not completed.

This bill will be taken up again in the Senate in January 2022, with a full commitment by the author to having it signed in 2022.

AB 1131-Health Information Network. Patients need access to their medical records no matter where they are in the state and these records must be accessible by any provider treating them. This bill would establish a statewide health information network to provide the data infrastructure needed to meet California’s health care access, equity, affordability, public health and quality goals. The bill would also require a health care entity, including a hospital, health system, skilled nursing facility, laboratory, physician practice, health care service plan, health insurer and the State Department of Health Care Services, to submit specified data to the operating entity.

This bill did not move forward in 2021.

AB 1132-Medi-Cal. This bill would require the Department of Health Care Services to develop and implement a mandatory process for county jails and county juvenile facilities to coordinate with Medi-Cal managed care plans and Medi-Cal behavioral health delivery systems to facilitate continued behavioral health treatment in the community for inmates and would authorize the sharing of prescribed data with and among counties and other specified entities, as determined necessary by the department.

This bill did not move forward in 2021.

AB 1212-Tribal Gaming Compact Ratification. The existing federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 provides for the negotiation and execution of tribal-state gaming compacts for the purpose of authorizing certain types of gaming on Indian lands within a state. The California Constitution authorizes the Governor to negotiate and conclude tribal-state gaming compacts, subject to ratification by the Legislature. This bill would ratify the tribal-state gaming compact entered into between the State of California and the following tribes: the Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria, the Resighini Rancheria, and the Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California.

This bill passed the Assembly on January 14, 2022, and is now in the Senate.

AB 1311-Recycling Centers. For decades, California’s recycling program, in place since 1987, was one of the most successful in the country. Drops in commodity prices and the system filling with mostly plastic that has no value, has led to the closing of more than 1,000 recycling centers in California since 2013, many in rural communities. At the beginning of 2021, there were no certified redemption centers in Humboldt, Trinity, Sierra, or Alpine county and given the rural nature of these regions, it was not financially feasible for them to operate and difficult for consumers to recover their California Refund Value (CRV) deposits.

Working closely with the Humboldt Waste Management Authority the bill was written to improve flexibility in how these centers can operate. The bill authorizes CalRecycle to allow certified recycling centers to operate on an alternative schedule, less than the currently required 30 hours per week, if it best serves the needs of the community and the goals of the program. It requires CalRecycle to develop a process that would allow recycling centers to apply for authorization to operate by appointment. It authorizes the use of reverse vending machines and bag drop recycling centers, setting a 3-day standard for customers to receive payment of CRV without requiring full-time staffing.

The Governor signed this bill on October 5, 2021.

AB 1513-Health Facilities. This bill was introduced to address law that requires the State Department of Public Health to license and regulate each health facility, defined to mean a facility, place, or building that is organized, maintained, and operated for the diagnosis, care, prevention, and treatment of human illness, and includes, among others, a general acute care hospital, an acute psychiatric hospital, and a skilled nursing facility.

This bill did not move forward in 2021.