HOAC’s sponsored bill to update TB screening requirements, AB 511 (Arambula), will be held in the Senate Health Committee for the rest of the year. AB 511 will now be a two-year bill, eligible to move forward again in January of 2018. In the meantime, HOAC will be asking health officers to include support of AB 511 in their county legislative platforms. We will be reaching out to other potential supporters, and may work on amending the bill.
HOAC would like to thank all the health officers, TB controllers, and others who have worked hard to craft language, testify, and meet with elected officials. Your voice has been essential in moving the bill this far. Regardless of what happens moving forward, we can be proud that we got AB 511 out of the Assembly without any “no” votes, in spite of vocal opposition led by the California Nurses Association.
Academic Consortium Studying SB 277
Health officers will soon receive an interview request from an academic consortium studying the outcomes of 2015’s SB 277, the bill to remove the personal belief exemption to vaccines. The study is being conducted by a team representing Emory University, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, and Northern California Kaiser Permanente in collaboration with HOAC. They will be asking about how your county has worked with schools and any challenges you’ve faced. Please expect to see an e-mail from HOAC staff.
Senate Health Schedules Hearing for HOAC Sponsored TB Control Legislation Members of the Senate Health Committee will hear HOAC’s sponsored AB 511 (Arambula) on June 21. Our bill would build on previous legislative accomplishments to replace mandated TB testing of certain low-risk populations with risk assessment screening and targeted testing, as recommended by the CDC, CDPH, and other expert public health bodies. AB 511 passed the Assembly, despite facing strong opposition from the California Nurses Association. We must now call on your help to overcome this opposition by educating Senators about the best TB control practices, which do not include universally testing low-risk populations.
If you can share this knowledge with a lawmaker or their staff, members of the Senate Health Committee would benefit from your input. Contact information for members of this committee is listed below and I would be happy to provide talking points, a fact sheet, or any other information on AB 511 to those interested.
The Democratic majority in the legislature and Governor Brown have reached a partial deal for the 2017/18 FY State Budget, increasing funds for after-school programs, providing money for in-state students attending CSUs and UCs, preserving the Middle-Class Scholarship, restoring adult dental and optical services under Med-Cal, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income people, and funding dam safety and emergency flood projects. However, no agreement was reached on allocating Proposition 56 (tobacco tax) revenues. The additional $2 per pack of cigarette tax hike approved by voters in 2016 generated $1.3 billion. Governor Brown has proposed using the money to increase spending on the Medi-Cal program, while many legislators – along with the medical and dental lobbies – contend these revenues should fund increases in reimbursement rates for physicians and dentists who treat Medi-Cal patients.
Legislators will have until midnight on June 15 to finalize their negotiations with the governor and pass a budget.