Blog

May 9, 2016 
Governor Brown Acts on Package of Tobacco Bills 

Governor Brown on Wednesday signed legislation that will regulate the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes and increase the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Other tobacco-bills approved by the governor on Wednesday will close loopholes in existing smoke-free workplace laws and require all K-12 schools to be tobacco free. However, the governor ultimately decided to veto a measure that would give cities and counties the discretion to tax tobacco products at the local level. The governor wrote in his veto message, “although California has one of the lowest cigarette tax rates in the nation, I am reluctant to approve this measure in view of all the taxes being proposed for the 2016 ballot.”
 
The governor was tasked with considering six special session tobacco measures. HOAC supported five of those six bills, including the one that was vetoed. The success of this package is a tremendous victory for public health in California.  
 

April 22, 2016 
HOAC Sponsored Budget Items Have All Been Heard 

In addition to our two sponsored bills, HOAC is sponsoring three budget items to be included in California’s FY 2016/17 Budget.
  1. A budget proposal to restore and supplement vital parts of public health practice at the local level, including funding for eliminating tuberculosis in our state
  2. A Lab Aspire budget proposal to address a critical shortage of public health laboratory directors, as well as additional support for local laboratories
  3. A budget proposal for the Community-based Health Improvement and Innovation Fund, a revolutionary and modest proposal to combat preventable chronic diseases
As of last week, all three items have been heard by the Budget Committees and will be considered in this year’s budget.
 

April 22, 2016
Wellness Fund Bill Passes Assembly Health

AB 2424 (Gomez), a bill creating a “Wellness Fund” to empower the California Department of Public Health, local health departments, and community nonprofits to enact primary prevention programs to combat preventable chronic diseases, was passed by Assembly Health last week. The bill enjoyed support from both Democrats and Republicans, passing with 14 ayes, 2 noes, and 3 abstentions. AB 2424 is now on to Assembly Appropriations, where it will soon be heard.
 

April 19, 2016
Wellness Fund Hearing in Assembly Health Today

The Assembly Health Committee will hear a very large number of bills today, since it is their last hearing before the deadline for bills with a fiscal effect. Among these is the HOAC-supported bill AB 2424 (Gomez), which creates the Community-based Health Improvement and Innovation Fund, a Wellness Fund for California. The hearing begins at 1:30 and you can watch it here:
 
http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast/
 

April 19, 2016
Security Threat Closed HOAC Office on Monday

Yesterday, HOAC’s office closed early when a man barricaded himself in a car between our office building and the Capitol. Our building was inside the police cordon, which lasted for several hours as the police worked to arrest the man and ensure the safety of the car. Ultimately, no explosive devices were found.
 
Two HOAC budget items were being heard in the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health: TB Elimination Challenge 2040 and Lab Aspire. The hearing room was evacuated due to its proximity to the car, but was begun slightly later in the day on the other side of the Capitol. Dr. Charity Dean, Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Dr. Michael Stacey, and Dr. Katya Ledin were all there to testify for the HOAC budget items, and all were inconvenienced by the incident.  HOAC wishes to thank them for their dedication and service.
 

April 11, 2016
Governor Signs HOAC Supported AB 908 (Gomez)

Governor Brown today signed legislation – AB 908 (Gomez) – to expand the state’s Paid Family Leave program to help more working Californians afford time off to care for an ill family member or new child. 
 

April 7, 2016
Senate Passes HOAC Sponsored SB 1038 (Allen)

Our sponsored legislation to update California’s TB control protocols was passed by the Senate last week. SB 1038 (Allen) was unopposed and received unanimous support from members of the Senate. The bill is now in the Assembly, where it is awaiting to be referred to a policy committee. 
 

April 6, 2016
Senate Governmental Organization Passes HOAC Co-Sponsored AB 1554 (Irwin)

Our sponsored legislation to ban powdered alcohol was passed by the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization last week. AB 1554 (Irwin) was unopposed and received unanimous support from members of the committee. The bill will soon be heard by the Appropriations Committee. 
 

April 4, 2016
Happy National public Health Week!

By Presidential Proclamation, April 4 begins National Public Health Week, a time to “join together to enhance public health here at home and around the world.” 
 

March 30, 2016
HOAC Sponsored SB 1038 (Allen) On Consent 

Our sponsored legislation to update California’s TB control protocols was passed by the Senate Committee on Education today. SB 1038 (Allen) was unopposed and received unanimous support from members of the committee. The bill does not contain an appropriation of funds and will bypass the Senate Committee on Appropriations, heading straight to the floor to be voted on by every member of the Senate. As was the case for SB 1038 in Senate Education, the bill is on consent and will likely receive the unanimous support from members. 
 

March 21, 2016
Ch-ch-ch-Changes

The California State Assembly has undergone some major transitions over the last couple of weeks. Earlier this month, Anthony Rendon (D – Lakewood) officially became the Speaker of the Assembly. Days later, Rendon announced his distribution of power, reassigning coveted committee positions and naming members who will serve in leadership.
 
Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), who was an early supporter of Rendon’s speakership, will serve as the new Majority Floor Leader, replacing Chris Holden (D – Pasadena) as the Assembly’s “traffic officer,” so to speak. Other notable recipients of Rendon’s blessings were Lorena Gonzales (D – San Diego), who takes over as chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, Phil Ting (D – San Francisco), who takes over as chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, and Jim Wood (D – Healdsburg), a dentist, who takes over the Assembly Health Committee.
 
The committee shake up resulted in many hearings being cancelled and put off until after the spring recess, which ends on March 28th. With the April 22nd house of origin policy deadline approaching, lawmakers can expect to have packed agendas and longer hearings.  
 


March 9, 2016
California Advances Bills to Raise Smoking Age, Regulate Vaping 

“Sweeping tobacco control bills raising California’s smoking age to 21 and treating electronic cigarettes as tobacco products passed the state Assembly on Thursday and should soon go before Gov. Jerry Brown.” Read more here
 

March 9, 2016 NAACHO
Call to Action: Please Urge Members of Congress to Support Public Health Funding

By March 16 in the Senate and March 24 in the House, Members of Congress will submit their programmatic appropriations request letters, which ask members of the Appropriations Subcommittees (who develop the federal funding legislation) to include funding for their priorities. The more Members of Congress that include a request for public health funding in their letters, the greater the likelihood appropriators will include funding (or limit cuts) in FY2017, starting October 1.
 
A complete list of NACCHO funding priorities can be found here.
 
If you would like to send a letter on a priority not listed above, go to NACCHO's Engage Action Center to find contact information for your Members of Congress. You should contact Members of Congress from the jurisdiction(s) your health department serves.
 

March 9, 2016
Anthony Rendon Sworn In As New Assembly Speaker 

Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) was sworn in as Speaker of the Assembly on Monday. Rendon, who was elected to the Assembly in 2012, has the potential to serve as speaker until 2024, which would make him the longest serving speaker since Willie Brown left the Assembly in 1995. A rarity in recent decades, both houses of the state legislature are now led by members from Los Angeles. Even rarer, the swearing in of Speaker Rendon marks the first time that both houses of the state legislature are being led by Latinos.
 
On his rise to power, Speaker Rendon commented to the Sacramento Bee that state aid played an important role in the successes of him and his wife. Rendon said, “Neither of us was really supposed to be here… we benefitted from California’s public housing projects and its low-income home-loan programs. We benefited from its food stamps and free meal programs. We benefited from this state’s English-as-a-second-language and its diversity programs. We benefited from its unemployment assistance programs and, yes, we benefited from this state’s commitment to affirmative action programs.”
 

March 8, 2016
Senate Committee on Governmental Organization Votes to Ban Powdered Alcohol

Members of the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization voted to support SB 819 (Huff), a HOAC supported measure that would ban powdered alcohol in California. After hearing from an impressive group of public health and safety advocates from across the state, the committee passed SB 819 on a 12-0 vote. The bill will move on to the Senate Committee on Appropriations before being voted upon by the full Senate.
 
HOAC co-sponsored AB 1554 (Irwin), a nearly identical measure in the Assembly, was referred to the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization, where it will be heard soon.  


February 29, 2016
HOAC Legislative Resource

As we enter the busy season in the state legislature, you may wish to access this pre-recorded HOAC webinar on the legislative process. This 15-minute presentation will give you an orientation to the process from HOAC’s perspective. HOAC staff is always available to you if you have additional questions.
 
(Note: if you have not used WebEx before, you may be asked to download the appropriate software before the webinar begins)

February 22, 2016
Bill Introduction Deadline Passes

February 19th was the last day for legislators to introduce new bills for the second year of the 2015/2016 legislative session. In the week leading up to the deadline, law makers introduced more than 1,200 new bills. HOAC staff reviews each piece of legislation once it is introduced or amended and uploads a version of our bill report to the HOAC website each day. 

February 16, 2016
NACCHO Analysis of President's FY2017 Budget Proposal 


President Obama released his FY2017 budget proposal on February 10, outlining his administration’s priorities. NACCHO has provided an initial analysis of the budget. Learn more»

February 12, 2016
Senator Ben Allen Introduces HOAC Sponsored TB Legislation 

HOAC sponsored legislation to eliminate mandated universal tuberculosis testing for community college administrators, faculty, and classified employees was introduced by Senator Ben Allen on Friday. SB 1038 (Allen) would preserve public health resources by replacing universal TB testing requirements with the more focused and cost-effective approach of screening each employee for risk of infection, and testing only those who are at a high-risk. This bill will bring current law requiring universal TB testing closer in line with the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Tuberculosis Controllers Association. 

February 9, 2016
Bringing Federal Dollars Home for Safe Transportation

Click here for information on how you can access federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds at the local level. Thanks to our colleagues at the Safe Routes to School Partnership.  

February 9, 2016
Call to Action: County Support for Powdered Alcohol Ban 

HOAC is partnering with Alcohol Justice to sponsor AB 1554 (Irwin) and support SB 819 (Huff), two bills that would ban the sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, possession, and use of powdered alcohol in California. Both bills have recently been referred to the Committee on Governmental Organization in their respective houses of origin and will soon be heard in committee for the first time. To better ensure the smooth passage of these important pieces of public health legislation, HOAC encourages health officers to request their county’s support for AB 1554 and SB 819. For those able to respectfully urge their county’s support, we have posted draft legislative platform language and a draft county resolution on our website, which you may find helpful in making your request.   

February 1, 2016
CSAC Calls on Stakeholders to Support the Governor's MCO Fix

Due to California’s managed care organization (MCO) tax not meeting federal guidelines, the state must quickly act to restructure the tax before it expires and leaves a $1.1 billion hole in the Medi-Cal budget. In his January budget proposal, the governor proposed a new MCO tax that, according to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), “would spare health plans any net costs of losses while realizing $1.3 billion for critical Medi-Cal services.” Given the legislative hurdle of having to achieve a two-thirds vote to approve any new tax and secure funding for crucial Medi-Cal services, CSAC has issued a Call to Action, asking counties to “explain their specific potential local impacts and urge passage of the governor’s MCO fix as soon as possible”
 

February 1, 2016
AB 21 (Wood) Moves to Governor's Desk, Potentially Giving Local Jurisdictions More Time to Regulate Medical Marijuana

As a result of what the author acknowledges as a drafting error in AB 243 (Wood), one of last year’s successful pieces of cannabis-related legislation, cities and counties will have until March 1, 2016 to either regulate medical marijuana activity within their jurisdictions or step aside to allow the state to enforce their own regulations. AB 21 (Wood), the emergency fix to eliminate this March 1st deadline, was passed by the Assembly last Thursday and is now awaiting the governor’s signature. The passage of AB 21 will relieve pressure from cities and counties forced to rush into regulating medical marijuana and will give local jurisdictions more time to consider their own approach. 

January 13, 2016
Health Highlights from President Obama's Final State of the Union Address

From strengthening Medicare to investing in cancer research, President Obama’s final State of the Union address seemed to embrace quite a robust health agenda. In his address, the president boasted of improving access to care, taking steps to address climate change, and hindering the spread of many infectious diseases. Below are some of the public health-related remarks delivered by President Obama last Tuesday night:
 
  • Affordable Care Act: “And for Americans short of retirement, basic benefits should be just as mobile as everything else is today. That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about. It’s about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we’ll still have coverage. Nearly 18 million have gained coverage so far. Health care inflation has slowed. And our businesses have created jobs every single month since it became law.”
  • Climate change: “Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it. … Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.”
  • HIV and malaria: “When we help African countries feed their people and care for the sick, that prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores. Right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, and we have the capacity to accomplish the same thing with malaria – something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year.”
  • Paid sick leave, gun violence, and the minimum wage: “And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. … Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.”

January 13, 2016
Warning Labels on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Supported by 78% of California's Voters

Last week, a field poll found that 78% of California voters support a warning label on sugar-sweetened beverages. That same day, SB 203, HOAC’s co-sponsored bill to enact such a labeling requirement, died in the Senate Health Committee for lack of the needed votes. The first year of this two-year session was quite successful for communicable disease control, climate change, antimicrobial resistance, and a number of other efforts. However, we still have a long way to go in obesity prevention and tobacco use prevention. The beverage industry and the tobacco industry both have a chokehold on the state Capitol. We will continue to fight this year and every year to make the healthy choice the easy choice in California.  

January 11, 2016
Assembly Elects Anthony Rendon as Next Speaker

Members of the Assembly formally elected Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to succeed Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) as their next speaker. Atkins, who was elected to the Assembly in 2010 and has served its speaker since May 2014, is restricted by term limits and will leave the Assembly at the end of the year. Rendon was selected by his democratic colleagues in September and will officially take over as speaker in March. Interestingly, Rendon was elected to the Assembly in 2012 and will not term out until 2024, meaning that he has the potential to be the longest serving Speaker of the California State Assembly since Willie Brown left the Assembly in 1995.
 
At the start of what may someday be seen as an “imperial speakership,” I thought it would be helpful to share some interesting information about the Speaker-elect and his incoming priorities:
 
Educating youngest kids tops next California Assembly speaker’s agenda” [Sacramento Bee]
 
A Conversation With California's incoming Assembly Speaker” [KCRW]
 
Punk rock and Plato are touchstones for incoming Assembly speaker” [Los Angeles Times]
 
Anthony Rendon: 'There's always something political about art'”[Los Angeles Times]

January 7, 2016
Governor Brown’s Budget Proposal

Governor Brown released his proposal for the State Budget today, taking the first step in the 2016/17 budgetory process. In the midst of a soaring economy, the governor unveiled plans to increase funding for education, healthcare, and infrastructure, as well as his intent to continue growing the rainy day fund and paying down California’s debts. Additionally, addressing the potential $1.1 billion hole in the Medi-Cal budget caused by the soon-to-expire Managed Care Organization tax, the governor proposed a new tax on insurers that, according to the Department of Health Care Services, would generate $1.35 billion. Legislators, however, may have something else in mind as they look consider a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes and an extension of Proposition 30.
 
Reviewing the budget proposed by Governor Brown, the California State Association of Counties called the proposal “a good news budget for counties,” citing the proposed $250 million for improved jail capacity, $170 million for Medi-Cal Administration Costs, $150 million for CAL Fire to address forest health, $29.3 million in Proposition 47 savings for services like mental health and substance abuse treatment, and $100 million for Climate Communities.
 
The governor’s budget proposal will be a major issue of discussion for legislators in the coming months, as legislators must pass their budget by June 15th.

January 4, 2016
HOAC Co-Sponsors Two Bills to Ban Powdered Alcohol

Together with Alcohol Justice, HOAC is cosponsoring two bills to ban powdered alcohol in the state. The first bill was introduced by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin today (AB 1554). The second will be introduced tomorrow. These bills will make it an infraction to possess, use, or sell powdered alcohol, punishable with a $125 fine. In addition, any licensed alcohol retailer who sells powdered alcohol will have their license revoked. HOAC is proud to cosponsor this bill, which will protect California’s communities from a product that has been approved for sale at the federal level, but has not yet been marketed. The authors’ press releases state the following: "Powdered alcohol is a product that is ripe for abuse, and can easily be marketed to children," says Kat DeBurgh, MPH, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California. "From a public health point of view, powdered alcohol is unsafe for California's communities. The time to act is now."


January 4, 2016
CMS Approves Medi-Cal 2020

Just before the start of the New Year, federal officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services agreed to grant California’s five-year, 6.2 billion federal 1115 waiver, allowing the state to make substantial reforms to Medi-Cal over the next five years. The California Healthline highlights “four reform fronts” facing Medi-Cal:

  • Up to $3.27 billion in performance incentives for the state's public hospitals. The plan is called PRIME -- Public Hospital Redesign and Incentives in Medi-Cal -- and it's the next step beyond the previous waiver's DSRIP (Delivery System Reform Incentive Program) allowance;
  • $1.5 billion over five years for the Whole Person Care pilot program targeting heavy utilizers of services, particularly emergency services;
  • $1.4 billion for the Global Payment Program Pilot. It combines money from the Safety Net Care Pool and Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital funding and aims to incentivize cost-effective primary care rather than financially rewarding hospital-based care; and 
  • Funding for dental system reforms in the Dental Transformation Incentive Program.

January 4, 2016
Medical Marjuana 

As many of you are aware, one of the medical marijuana bills that passed last year, AB 243 (Wood), required cities and counties to pass land use regulations and ordinances by March 1, 2016. Jurisdictions not acting by this deadline would cede regulatory control to the state. This was a drafting error in the bill. Assemblymember Wood has agreed to carry an urgency measure to remove this deadline, leaving regulatory authority at the local level. The administration has indicated that this measure will be signed into law. HOAC will keep you updated on the status of this proposal. 



January 4, 2016
Welcome Back! 

California’s lawmakers returned to the Capitol this morning after adjourning in September. Starting the second year of a two-year legislative session, legislators will have their plates full with leftover legislation from 2015, which includes several special session bills to reduce the impact of tobacco. In addition to considering last year’s bills, the 2016 legislative agenda will get even more crowded as legislators begin to introduce new bills upon their return.
 
In the wake of November’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, lawmakers are expected to introduce a number of bills aiming to reduce the occurrence of gun violence in California. We are also likely to see new legislation to raise the minimum wage, expand the state’s paid family leave program, and prepare the state for the chance that voters approve the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which may appear on the November 2016 ballot.
 
Legislators will also need to pass a bill to restructure the state’s managed care organization (MCO) tax, which is set to expire this June and leave a $1.1 billion hole in the Medi-Cal budget. So far, there are currently two MCO tax proposals for the legislature to consider (imposing a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes and extending the sunset on Proposition 30), but according to the Sacramento Bee, legislators may eventually look to find some funding from surging state revenues.


October 5, 2015
Governor Signs Controversial "Right-to-Die" Legislation 

Just a few hours ago, Governor Brown signed AB-X2 15, a bill authored by Assemblymember Susan Eggman that would allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives using drugs prescribed by a physician. California will become the fifth state to allow what many call “physician-assisted suicide.”
 
In a signing message, the governor writes, “in the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
 
HOAC did not take a position on this legislation. 


October 5, 2015
Governor Brown Signs HOAC Supported AB 1207 (Lopez)

 

Governor Brown recently signed AB 1207 (Lopez), a HOAC supported bill that would require child care workers to be trained to recognize and report suspected incidences of child abuse. AB 1207 is the only piece of HOAC priority legislation that the governor has acted on since the legislature’s adjournment.
 
There are still five priority bills, including HOAC sponsored SB 792 (Mendoza), that are on the governor’s desk for consideration. Governor Brown will have until October 11th to sign or veto the remainder of the bills on his desk.

September 28, 2015
Opportunity to Affect National Legislation

NACCHO members and other stakeholders are invited to give input to the 2016 Federal Legislative and Policy Agenda. This document guides NACCHO’s advocacy work in the coming year. The Board of Directors will consider and vote on the agenda at their November meeting. Please provide input in an email to Vicky Bass, NACCHO Government Affairs Specialist, by October 12. 


September 21, 2015
Overview of High Profile Bills on Governor Brown's Desk

The Sacramento Bee recently published an article, “Which Bills Will Jerry Brown Sign,” reviewing several high-profile bills sent to the governor before the legislature’s adjournment. HOAC sponsored SB 792 is one of the five health-related bills highlighted in the article.   


September 14, 2015
Medical Cannabis Legislative Update


Throughout the session, HOAC monitored but did not take a position on the legislative package seeking to regulate cannabis used for medicinal purposes. These three bills were passed by the legislature on Friday and are now being considered by the Governor. CSAC says of the bill package "We have reviewed and while not perfect they include many aspects that our organizations have requested, including various local control protections, explicit county taxation authority, mechanism for funding environmental clean-up, employer protections for workplace use of medical marijuana, and a strict licensure scheme involving a requirement for both a state and local license, with a local license being required first.  Unfortunately, we have some remaining concerns involving mobile deliveries and patient privacy protections."

You can read more about the content of this legislation here.


September 11, 2015
Legislature Adjourns for 2015


The legislature adjourned for the remainder of 2015 on Friday, sending the governor’s office more than 600 bills to consider over the next month. Governor Brown will have until October 11th to sign or veto the regular session bills on his desk. The governor will have only 12 days to consider the special session measures approved by the legislature. Unfortunately, none of the HOAC-supported special session bills on tobacco reform made it to the governor's desk.




September 8, 2015
HOAC Sponsored SB 792 (Mendoza) Passed by the Assembly

Our sponsored bill to require child care workers to be immunized against measles, pertussis, and influenza was passed by the California Assembly this morning. Our bill will now head back to the Senate, where members will vote to concur in the Assembly amendments. 



August 24, 2015
Special Legislative Session on Health Care Funding

With the start of a special legislative session that focuses on health care funding, HOAC has taken support positions on several newly introduced tobacco bills. The newly supported special session bills are below:

ABX2 7 (Mark Stone)/SBX2 6 (Monning) – Smoking in the workplace
ABX2 9 (Thurmond)/SBX2 8 (Liu) – Tobacco use programs 
ABX2 10 (Bloom)/SBX2 9 (McGuire) – Local taxes: authorization: cigarettes and tobacco products 



August 17, 2015
Legislators Return from Recess to Finish Last Month of Session

The legislature reconvenes today, as legislators return from a month-long recess to begin the final month of this year’s legislative session. We can look forward to a lot of fast-paced legislative action in the weeks to come. 
 
As you may recall from our last update, several tobacco bills were reintroduced for a special session declared by Governor Brown to address financial issues in healthcare. Some of the special session tobacco bills are repeat versions of this year’s failed attempts to better regulate and reduce the use of tobacco. With the recent blessing of leaders in the democratic majority, we can be more confident in the legislature’s ability to pass meaningful legislation to prevent tobacco-related diseases, reduce tobacco use among teens, and define electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. 


July 20, 2015
Tobacco Bills Revived

The legislature started their month-long recess last week, but before leaving for summer break, democratic lawmakers reintroduced several tobacco regulation bills. Some of the special session tobacco bills are repeat versions of this year’s failed attempts to better regulate and reduce the use of tobacco. So, what has changed and why are legislators reintroducing tobacco bills that failed less than a month ago? As a special session declared by Governor Brown to address financial issues in healthcare approaches, the Assembly Speaker and Senate leader issued a joint statement calling on legislators to mitigate the financial impact of tobacco on California’s healthcare systems. With the blessing of leaders in the democratic majority, legislators are more confident in their ability to take on the tobacco industry and pass meaningful legislation to prevent tobacco-related diseases, reduce tobacco use among teens, and define electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.



July 13, 2015
E-Cig Bill Withdrawn by Author After Hostile Amendments 

SB 140 (Leno), a bill to better regulate electronic cigarettes, was abandoned in the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization by Senator Mark Leno after the chair and members voted to undermine the bill’s intent by amending the bill, against the author’s wishes, to strike language equating e-cigs to tobacco products. After the committee forced this amendment, Leno stated of the bill, “I no longer believe in it… I dissociate myself from it.”
 
The Sacramento Bee published an article about last week’s SB 140 hearing that can be seen here.     




June 28, 2015
SB 277 (Pan and Allen) Sent to Governor Brown

SB 277 (Pan and Allen), the bill to eliminate personal belief exemptions to vaccines required for school entry was passed by the California State Assembly last Thursday. The bill passed off the Assembly Floor with 46 aye votes, 31 no votes, and 3 abstentions. Today, the State Senate voted to accept the Assembly amendments, thereby sending the measure to Governor Brown’s desk for consideration. Thank you to those of you who reached out to your local representatives to voice your support of SB 277.


 


June 15, 2015
Lab Aspire Unanimously Approved by Budget Conference Committee 

Throughout the budget process, HOAC has called on legislators to address the critical shortage of qualified public health laboratory directors in our state by including the Lab Aspire program in the final budget. This is a $1.1 million proposal sponsored by HOAC which would add a microbiologist to the state public health laboratory and fund six assistant laboratory directors for local public health laboratories. The legislature has approved this program, and will be including it in the budget they vote on this afternoon. This is great news. However, the governor is unlikely to approve the entire legislative budget. The final step is to ensure that Lab Aspire is included in the final version of the budget, which must be signed by the governor by July 1. HOAC staff will be meeting with the governor’s office and will keep its membership updated.


 

June 1, 2015
Budget Conferece Committee Members Announced

HOAC has called on legislators to include Lab Aspire funding in the final state budget. The proposal was included in the Assembly’s budget and is now 1/3 of the way to being included in the state’s budget for 2015-2016. We must now work to ensure Lab Aspire is included in the joint budget approved by the Assembly and Senate conference committee.
 
Legislative leadership announced the members of the Joint Budget Conference Committee on Friday. Members include: Senator Mark Leno (County of San Francisco), Senator Ricardo Lara (County of Los Angeles), Senator Jim Nielsen (Counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama, and Yuba), Assembly Member Shirley Weber (County of San Diego), Assembly Member Richard Bloom (County of Los Angeles), and Assembly Member Melissa Melendez (County of Riverside). 


May 18, 2015
Vaccine Bills Move forward

Last week, the Senate Floor passed SB 277, the bill to remove the personal belief exemption from vaccines required for school entry. The floor debate was intense, with hostile amendments offered by Republican lawmakers and rejected by the Democrats. However, the bill succeeded with a bipartisan vote of 25 to 10, with 4 absentions. You can view the vote count here. The bill now goes to the Assembly, where it will face additional committee hearings and floor votes.

HOAC's sponsored bill, SB 792 (Mendoza) was found to have no state cost and was taken out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill could be heard on the Senate floor later this week. HOAC may be asking you to contact your senator to talk to them about the importance of vaccines in day care workers. 



March 3, 2015
HOAC Proudly Sponsors SB 792 (Mendoza)

The physician health officers in California's cities and counties would like to thank Senator Tony Mendoza for introducing SB 792 to require vaccinations in child care workers. This bill will cover important immunizations for workers in both home day care centers as well as child care facilities.

It is time for California to take this important step in protecting our children. Children are vaccinated against diseases according to a schedule determined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a project of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to this schedule, children are immunized against measles at age 12 months. Children may receive the first dose of vaccine against pertussis (whooping cough) at age two months, but it takes multiple doses for immunity to be fully effective. Children may receive the annual flu vaccine at six months of age.
 
Until they are fully vaccinated, children rely on those around them to maintain their immunization to stop the spread of disease. We want to ensure that those who are providing care for our children are not inadvertantly making them sick.
 
Some diseases, such as the flu, cause only a relative inconvenience to healthy adults. However, this same disease can require hospitalization and perhaps even be fatal in an infant or an individual with a suppressed immune system. When day care workers are immunized, they will protect the clients they serve. If this bill is passed, we expect to see fewer childhood diseases, smaller and more easily-contained disease outbreaks, and lower health care costs in both the public and private marketplace


February 20, 2015
New State Health Officer

 

Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Karen Smith, MD, MPH as the new state health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). "HOAC is very pleased with this appointment and congratulates Dr. Smith on her new role," says Kat DeBurgh, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California. "Dr. Smith has a wealth of experience at the local level, having worked in both Santa Clara County as deputy health officer and in Napa County as health officer. Her knowledge of public health law, infectious disease, and public health priorities will benefit the people of California. We look forward to working with Dr. Smith well into the future." The governor's announcement can be read here


February 2, 2015
Legislative Update 

We are now in week 5 of the 2015 legislative session and have added one new item to the HOAC bill report since our last update. The new addition can be reviewed below:

SB 151 (Hernandez) – Tobacco products: minimum legal age 
 
The only bill with a support position on the HOAC bill report, AB 11 (Gonzalez), which would extend paid sick leave benefits to the state’s in-home supportive services providers, has been assigned to the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment. A specific hearing date has not been set. 

Click here to view the entire bill report.
 

 


January 26, 2015
Valley Fever CME Conference


HOAC hosted a valley fever CME conference at the Bakersfield Memorial Hospital this Saturday. More than 40 physicians and other health care professionals from the Central Valley and San Luis Obispo attended our conference aimed at better equiping providers to recognize and treat valley fever. Also in attendance was Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) who delivered the keynote address and briefly discussed upcoming valley fever legislation (see SB 115 and SCR 7).

You can view local news coverage of the event here


 

January 12, 2015
Budget Update


Governor Brown released his proposal for the FY 15/16 State Budget on Friday, January 10th, taking the first step in the budgetary process. Despite having higher than projected revenues, when discussing his proposal, the governor emphasized the need to exercise fiscal restraint in order for California to maintain its balanced budget and continue on the road to financial recovery. The governor made it clear that his budget priorities are to pay down unfunded liabilities, reduce debt, and save in preparation for future economic downturns.

There were no new major public health proposals. However, the governor did propose to increase funding for Medi-Cal to account for the program’s post-health care reform growth; to cover high-cost Hepatitis C medications for infected Medi-Cal beneficiaries, inmates in state penitentiaries, and patients in state hospitals; and for the Department of Public Health to hire additional staff for the state oversight of health care facilities. HOAC will propose that the legislature allocate additional funds for emergency preparedness and response. The legislature will discuss the governor’s proposal and must pass their budget by June 15.

The Budget Summary can be viewed here, with the CDPH summary here.

A one minute video outlining Governor Brown’s budget proposal can be viewed here.


December 8, 2014
Passage of HOAC Cosponsored AB 2109 Results in Lower Personal Belief Exepmtion Rates 

 

Monday's Sacramento Bee notes that personal belief exemption (PBE) rates for required childhood immunizations have gone down this year. A related editorial gives the credit for this change to AB 2109 (Pan), a bill cosponsored by HOAC, CMA, and the California Immunization Coalition in 2012. We here at HOAC know that this is an important part of the reduction, and that credit also needs to go to the work you do every day in your local jurisdictions to educate parents, providers, and others about the importance of immunization.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your hard work on this issue, and to thank you for supporting HOAC as we implement statutory changes like AB 2109.

Front page article, including a county-by-county map:
http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article4398622.html

Editorial:
http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article4395258.html


 

CONTACT

Health Officers Association of California
1100 11th Street #323
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-441-7405
916-447-2940 (fax)

Please send questions or comments to Kat Deburgh (deburgh@calhealthofficers.org).