This is the first year of the 2019-20 legislative session. Provided here is a summary of the 2019 legislation I am authoring. To see the legislative text or status of the bills, click on the bill number. We are early in the legislative process, therefore, some bill language is not complete. Please call our Capitol office if you have questions and we will update this page as soon as language is amended.
Health Care Legislation:
AB 174-Health care affordability. This bill originally was designed to make health care coverage more affordable for people who are purchasing coverage through Covered California by expanding subsidies/tax credits for people earning up to 800 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), rather than the existing 400 percent of FPL. The final state budget expanded subsidies for people earning up to 600 percent of FPL, and although not the 800 percent I was seeking, is an improvement. AB 174 has been modified to track data regarding subsidies to see if they are improving enrollment in health plans.
AB 204-Hospital community benefit reporting. This bill will standardize how hospitals report the value of their "community benefits." The current reporting requirements do not require hospital systems to break out the value of their community benefits by hospital site and, as a result, individual communities do not have accurate information about how a local hospital is supporting their community. This bill will provide relevant information to local communities.
AB 290-Dialysis third-party payments. Virtually all patients requiring dialysis, after a specified waiting period, qualify for Medicare, regardless of age. In those cases, dialysis is reimbursed at the Medicare rate. Dialysis companies use a practice of making donations to the American Kidney Fund (AKF) and, in turn, AKF uses those donations to pay for all or portions of a patient's commercial health care coverage and/or treatment which results in the dialysis clinic receiving a higher reimbursement for the treatment. Patients receive the same care, whether they are covered by Medicare/Medi-Cal or commercial insurance and this practice unnecessarily inflates the cost of care and only benefits the dialysis clinics and their corporations which reap billions in profits at the expense of patients and the health care system.
AB 714-Co-prescribing naloxone. Last year, AB 2760, which was signed into law, requires prescribers to offer a prescription for naloxone to patients at high risk of overdose. This bill will exclude prescribers when they are prescribing, ordering or administering medications to a patient in an inpatient health facility or prescribing to a patient in outpatient-based hospice care.
AB 824-Prohibits delaying production of generic drugs. This bill preserves access to affordable drugs by making it unlawful for generic and brand name drug manufacturers to enter into pay-for-delay agreements. "Pay for delay," is a practice by which pharmaceutical firms with brand name drugs engage in contracts with generic manufacturers and, sometimes, other entities to delay the production of a generic version after the drug's brand name patent expires, usually in exchange for some benefit, most often a monetary payment. This bill will accomplish this by making these agreements presumptively anti-competitive.
AB 890-Allows full practice authority for nurse practitioners. This bill will allow nationally certified nurse practitioners, after completing specific transition requirements, to practice to the full scope of their license independent of physician oversight. Twenty-two other states allow full practice authority of nurse practitioners. Increasing the number of primary care health care practitioners will increase access to care for many more people in California, especially in underserved and rural areas.
AB 899-Clinic licensing. This bill would authorize a licensed primary care clinic with a license in good standing for the preceding 5 years by the Department of Public Health to acquire ownership or control of an outpatient setting or a previously licensed primary care clinic and would provide that a facility acquired by a licensed primary care clinic be deemed compliant with the minimum standards of adequacy and safety required for the acquiring primary care clinic.
AB 954-Transparency of contracted dental networks. Sometimes, to expand network size, a dental plan or insurer will lease a dentist network from a third party (either another dental plan or insurer or a company that aggregates dental networks). Dentists who signed contracts with one dental plan or insurer are sometimes surprised to find out that they were contracted with other plans or don’t know what plans they have been leased to. Leased networks may also confuse dentists about which fee schedules are in effect. Confusion can lead to patient concerns if the wrong coinsurance or copay is charged. Dentists and patients are caught in between with the different dental plans on one side. This bill will increase transparency so that both dentists and patients have more clarity over benefits and co-pays.
AB 1026-This bill seeks to establish the same level of clarity in the design and construction of utility line extensions as currently exists for the fire and life safety building standards that apply to the design and construction of our buildings in the state. This bill makes it clear that once an electrical or gas corporation initially approves the construction, design and specifications, they have officially determined the rules to which the construction must comply.
AB 1042-Increase home upkeep allowance for vulnerable seniors. There are nearly 1.2 million low-income seniors enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program. Some of these seniors who are temporary residents of skilled nursing facilities are eligible for a Medi-Cal deduction called the “Home Upkeep Allowance.” This allowance allows a person to keep $209 every month, for up to 6 months, for the maintenance of their home while they’re temporarily residing in one of these facilities. Vulnerable seniors may be at risk of losing their homes in these circumstances and this woefully low allowance has not been increased in 40 years. This bill is intended to ensure that, with an increase in this allowance, they have the best chance of returning to their home after a short-term stay in a skilled nursing facility.
AB 1088-Maintain Medi-Cal eligibility for seniors. This bill is intended to prevent seniors and people with disabilities who are dually enrolled in Medicare and Medi-Cal from losing their Medi-Cal coverage when the state begins paying their Medicare Part B premiums, which covers physician services. This amount, which is $135.50 per month (or $271 for a couple) can be just enough to increase their countable income for purposes of determining their Medi-Cal eligibility to cause them to be dropped from no-cost Medi-Cal and placed on a share-of-cost Medi-Cal where they would be required to pay hundreds of dollars more for their care. This bill will prevent this unfair process, or "senior penalty," by disregarding the state’s payment for their Medicare premium as income and allowing them to maintain consistent coverage.
AB 1174-Maintain anesthesiologists in network. AB 72 passed in 2016 prevents consumers from "surprise billing" when their medical care was provided in a network facility but the provider was not a member of their network. That law also requires facilities to maintain a network that has an adequate number of each of the right types of providers to deliver the volume of health care services needed. This legislation will ensure that health plans and health insurers have a contractual relationship with an adequate number of anesthesiologists so that enrollees and insureds will have access to these types of providers at contracted facilities.
AB 1175-Medi-Cal mental health care. Medi-Cal mental health benefits are delivered to beneficiaries through separate delivery systems. Because these systems are funded and administered separately, there are patients who move between the two systems if their mental health condition improves or worsens. This can result in patients having to switch mental health providers and contact a different plan with a different network of mental health providers while receiving mental health services. This bill is intended to facilitate an easier transition for the patients to protect the continuity of their care.
AB 1642-Medi-Cal managed care plans. This bill would allow Medi-Cal managed care plans to add the use of clinically appropriate telecommunications technology in order to meet the state's required timely access to health care standards.
AB 1723-Intermittent clinics. Recent changes in state law allow intermittent clinics to be open up to 40 hours per week; however, these laws did not change the 20-hour limit in the Pharmacy Law, which would prevent these clinics from purchasing drugs at wholesale prices.This bill will change that section of the Pharmacy Law to align with 40 hours per week.
Other important legislation:
AB 38-Wildfire prevention and preparedness. This bill would establish fire hardening retrofit standards for buildings in very high fire hazard severity zones. It will also establish the State Fire Preparedness Council with the goal of improving the scale and effectiveness of the state’s fire preparedness, including the creation of regional community fire preparedness councils. This bill would establish the Fire Hardened Homes Revolving Loan Fund in the State Treasury, transferring $1 billion from the General Fund to distribute for funding no- or low-interest loans to owners of eligible buildings to pay for eligible costs of fire hardening.
AB 183-Disaster reporting by telecommunications companies. This bill would require the commission to collect certain information from telecommunications service providers relating to the provider’s efforts and resources used to restore telecommunications service outages caused by certain emergencies or natural disasters.
AB 437-Renter security deposit assistance. This bill would establish the Move-In Loan Program for the purpose of providing grants to eligible nonprofit organizations to be used to provide no-interest loans to eligible applicants to afford the security deposit and first month’s rent for a rental dwelling. Eligibility requirements for loan recipients would include a requirement that the income of the loan recipient is no greater than the area median income in which the rental dwelling is located.
AB 557-Atmospheric river research. Existing law establishes the Atmospheric Rivers Research, Mitigation, and Climate Forecasting Program in the Department of Water Resources. It requires the department, once funds are available, to research climate forecasting and the causes and impacts that climate change has on atmospheric rivers, to operate reservoirs in a manner that improves flood protection and to operate flood control and water storage facilities to capture water generated by atmospheric rivers. This bill appropriates $9.25 million from the General Fund to the department in the 2019–20 fiscal year to facilitate that research.
AB 746-Craft brew. Existing law establishes uniform health and sanitation standards for retail food facilities and the preparation of various types of foods. It requires food facilities that prepare, handle, or serve foods that have not been prepackaged to have an owner or employee who has successfully passed an approved and accredited food safety certification examination. This bill would exempt the premises of a licensed winegrower or brandy manufacturer used for wine tastings and the premises of a licensed beer manufacturer used for beer tastings from that safety certification examination requirement.
AB 867-Allow credit cards and installment payments at DMV. Although a person can pay using a credit card through DMV online services, you cannot walk into a DMV and pay fees with a credit card. This bill would require the DMV to accept credit cards as payment for any fees at all of its field offices by July 1, 2020. Payment vehicle license fees all at once is a financial challenge for some people. This bill will require the DMV, by July 1, 2020, to allow the payment of annual vehicle registration fees in monthly, bimonthly, or semiannual installment payments prior to the due date.
AB 1026-New home energization.This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to ensure that compliance with the codes and construction specifications for the extension of service required by an electrical or gas corporation at the time of the start of construction of a home shall suffice for the extension of service to the home upon the completion of construction.
AB 1387-365-day fishing license. The current "annual" fishing license is only valid until December 31, regardless of the purchase date. California has the lowest fishing participation rate per capita in the country and our antiquated system prevents many people from purchasing a license later in the year because the expense does not make sense for a shortened period of time. This bill provides a 365-day license from the date of purchase and also requires the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop an app that can display your license on your mobile device as well as an auto-renewal feature.
AB 1710-Cannabis. This bill would authorize the Elk Valley Rancheria and the County of Del Norte to enter into an agreement that would establish local authorization for cannabis related activity on the Elk Valley Rancheria. Additionally, the bill would require the licensee to comply with all the requirements of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).
In addition to my bills, here is a list of bills that I have joined as a co-author:
AB 37-Authored by Asm. Jones-Sawyer. This bill, for each taxable year beginning on and after January 1, 2019, would specifically provide for licensed commercial cannabis activity, for purposes of state income tax, allowing deduction of business expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on that commercial cannabis activity.
AB 261-Authored by Asms. Mathis and Frazier.
AB 298-Authored by Asms. Mathis, Cooper, Flora and Rodriguez. The Department of Housing and Community Development's primary purpose is to meet the housing needs of persons and families of low or moderate income. It is authorized to create its own home purchase assistance program. This bill would require the Legislative Analyst to conduct a study, and present the findings to the Legislature, to inform the creation of a low-interest loan program for first responders. The bill would require the report to be submitted on or before January 1, 2024 and would require the report to include a recommendation as to which state department is best suited to administer the program, an estimation of the amount of funding that would be necessary to conduct the program and recommendations for qualifications for participation in the program.
AB 420-Authored by Asms. Lackey and Cooley. This bill would commission objective scientific research by the University of California (UC) regarding the efficacy and safety of administering cannabis, its naturally occurring constituents, and synthetic compounds, as part of medical treatment. If the Regents of UC, by resolution, accept this responsibility, UC will create a program, the California Cannabis Research Program, hosted by the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. The program would develop and conduct studies intended to ascertain the general medical safety and efficacy of cannabis and, if found valuable, shall develop medical guidelines for the appropriate administration and use of cannabis. The studies may examine the effect of cannabis on motor skills, the health and safety effects of cannabis, cannabinoids, and other related constituents, and other behavioral and health outcomes.
AB 545-Authored by Asm. Low. The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 (AUMA) authorizes a person who obtains a state license to engage in commercial adult-use cannabis activity pursuant to that license and applicable local ordinances. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of these activities. MAUCRSA generally divides responsibility for the state licensure and regulation of commercial cannabis activity among the Bureau of Cannabis Control in the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the State Department of Public Health. MAUCRSA establishes the Cannabis Control Appeals Panel and authorizes any person aggrieved by decisions of a licensing authority to appeal the licensing authority’s written decision to the panel. This bill would require the powers and duties of the bureau and the panel to be subject to review by the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature.
AB 715-Authored by Asm. Arambula. This bill will expand Medi-Cal coverage to 20,000 seniors and disabled persons by increasing the qualifying income level of between 123 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
AB 998-Authored by Asm. Aguiar-Curry). This bill would designate State Route 128 as a route in the state scenic highway system.
AB 1494-Authored by Asm. Aguiar-Curry. In the Medi-Cal program, for purposes of payment for covered treatment or services provided through telehealth, prohibits the department from limiting the type of setting where services are provided for the patient or by the health care provider. This bill would provide, when federal financial participation is available, that neither face-to-face contact nor a patient’s physical presence on the premises of an enrolled community clinic, is required for services provided by the clinic to a Medi-Cal beneficiary during or immediately following a state of emergency. The bill would require that telehealth services, telephonic services, and other specified services be reimbursable when provided by one of those entities during or immediately following a declared state of emergency.
AB 1601-Authored by Asm. Ramos. The Office of Emergency Services (OES) is responsible for the state’s emergency and disaster response services for natural, technological, or manmade disasters and emergencies. This bill would establish a behavioral health deputy director within OES to ensure individuals have access to necessary mental and behavioral health services and supports in the aftermath of a natural disaster or declaration of a state of emergency and would require the deputy director to collaborate with the Director of Health Care Services to coordinate the delivery of trauma-related support to individuals affected by a natural disaster or state of emergency.
SB 34-Authored by Senator Wiener. This bill will exempt compassionate care programs from paying state commercial cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions. Due to an oversight in how Prop 64 was drafted, these not-for-profit donation programs that have been serving medical cannabis patients for decades are now being forced to pay taxes meant for businesses, which are forcing these charity programs to shut down.
SB 38-Authored by Senator Hill, et al. This bill would prohibit a tobacco retailer from selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell, a flavored tobacco product.
SB 39-Authored by Senator Hill, et al. Existing law, the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act, prohibits the sale, distribution, or nonsale distribution of tobacco products directly or indirectly to any person under 21 years of age through the United States Postal Service or through any other public or private postal or package delivery service and requires a person selling or distributing tobacco products directly to a consumer by those same delivery services to comply with specified age-verification policies and additionally require sellers, distributors, and nonsale distributors to deliver tobacco products only in conspicuously marked containers and to obtain the signature of a person 21 years of age or older before delivering a tobacco product.
SB 67-Authored by Senator McGuire. Many in the cannabis industry have complied with new rules and requirements and have applied for permanent licensure. Some with temporary licenses are still waiting for their permanent license, but due to the resource limitations of local and state resources, they have not received their permanent license and their temporary licenses will soon expire. This bill will provide an extension of the temporary licenses for those who have submitted their annual license applications on time and will allow the various state agencies to process the backlog of applications for a permanent license that have been submitted.
SB 347-This bill would establish the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, which would prohibit a person from distributing, selling, or offering for sale a sugar-sweetened beverage in a sealed beverage container, a multipack of sugar-sweetened beverages, or a concentrate, in this state unless the sealed beverage container, a multipack or packaging of the concentrate bears a safety warning. The bill also would require every person who owns, leases, or otherwise legally controls the premises where a vending machine or beverage dispensing machine is located, or where a sugar-sweetened beverage is sold in an unsealed container, to place a specified safety warning in certain locations, including on the exterior of any vending machine that includes a sugar-sweetened beverage for sale.
SB 670-This bill would require a provider of telecommunications services that provides access to 911 service to provide responder outage notification by electronic mail to the Office of Emergency Services (OES) whenever an outage occurs limiting the provider’s customers’ ability to make 911 calls or receive emergency notifications, within 60 minutes of discovering the outage. The bill would make OES responsible for notifying any applicable county office of emergency services and the sheriff of any county affected by the outage.
SB 674-The 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. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires projects complete an environmental impact report on a project that may have a significant effect on the environment. This bill would ratify the tribal-state gaming compact entered into between the State of California and the Hoopa Valley Tribe, executed on October 19, 2018 and provides that, in deference to tribal sovereignty, certain actions related to this compact are not projects for purposes of CEQA.