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  • End of Session Report 2015
    Posted On: Sep 21, 2015

    The legislature adjourned the 2015 legislative session on Friday, September 11 (well, technically, the Assembly didn’t wrap things up until 12:22 a.m. Saturday, September 12, but who’s counting?)

    While the regular session has wrapped up for the year, the two Special Sessions called  by the Governor (one on Health and one on Transportation) remain open, as the major work before both sessions was not completed due to lack of consensus. A couple of the major things we are watching are whether a deal can be reached on the MCO tax (the feds told California that it could not maintain its current MCO tax scheme past 2016, which means, if a new plan does not coalesce prior to the end of FY 2016, CA will have to figure out where to cut $1.1 billion in health care costs) and whether new funding will be allocated for transportation—as without new funding, concern exists that public sector transportation funding may be shifted to provide for expanded private sector transportation projects.

    In other news, the Governor has until October 11 to take action on all of the bills that passed out of the Legislature and made their way to his desk. His options are to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature. Below, please find a list and outcomes of many of the bills we’ve been following this year:

    AB 2 (Alejo): Allows local governments to establish a Community Revitalization and Investment Authority (Authority) in a disadvantaged community to fund specified activities and allows the Authority to collect tax increment. This bill passed both houses and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is now on his desk, awaiting action.

    AB 43 (Stone): Provides a credit, in modified conformity to the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, and before January 1, 2021, and provides that, in those years in which an appropriation is made by the Legislature, the credit would be refundable. This bill was held under submission in Senate Appropriations Committee.

    AB 67 (Gonzalez): Enacts the Double Pay on the Holiday Act (limited to Thanksgiving only). This bill failed passage in its house of origin, and was placed on the inactive file. The author has publicly stated that she will pursue this bill again next year.

    AB 172 (Rodriguez): Increases the criminal penalties for assault and/or battery against a doctor, nurse, or health-care worker, working in an emergency room. This bill passed both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is now on his desk, awaiting action.

    AB 217 (Maienschein): Mandates courts advise foster youth of their rights to speak at their dependency hearings. This bill was signed into law on July 2, 2015, as Chapter 36, Statutes 2015.

    AB 247 (Waldron): Seeks to require training and continuing education for Animal Control Officers. This bill was held under submission in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

    AB 248 (Hernandez): Prohibits a health care service plan or insurer offering plans or policies in the large group market from marketing, offering, amending or renewing a large group plan contract that provides a minimum value of less than 60%. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is now on his desk, awaiting action.

    AB 336 (Waldron): This bill seeks to permit parents who are the subject of child welfare services investigations, to video record child welfare services workers in the course of their duties. This bill was not heard this year and instead was made into a two year bill.

    AB 366 (Bonta): Requires the Department of Health Services (DHCS) to prepare an annual report to the Legislature on the California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal) access.  Requires for those services, providers or geographic areas when DHCS identifies the rates as inadequate, an increases in rates, to the extent money is provided in the budget and federal funds are available. This bill was held under submission in Senate Appropriations Committee.

    AB 371 (Mullin): This bill streamlines the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) eligibility standards for two-parent families by requiring that aid be granted to a family that meets applicable eligibility requirements, without regard to the employment status of the parent. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and was enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    AB 399 (Ridley-Thomas): AB 399 seeks to extend the ability to receive unemployment insurance to classified school employees, by removing the prohibition against such employees from being able to receive unemployment insurance benefits between two academic years. This bill was held on suspense in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

    AB 463 (Chiu):  This bill seeks to provide a greater level of transparency in the pricing of high-cost specialty medications. This bill was not heard this year and instead was made into a two year bill.

    AB 533 (Bonta): seeks to provide patients with in-network cost-sharing, when they unknowingly receive treatment from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility. This bill became a two-year-bill when the Assembly refused to concur in Senate amendments on September 11, 2015.

    AB 537 (Allen): AB 537 seeks to prohibit public agency employers from entering into MOUs that provide employees with postemployment health care benefits, unless such agreements provide for a permanent pre-funding strategy of such benefits. This bill was not heard this year and instead was made into a two-year bill.

    AB 651 (Cooper): This bill seeks to provide permissive (rather than mandatory) authority for a representative to be present during an interrogation by law enforcement/fire fighter employers, where the law enforcement or fire fighter employee is a witness, who may ultimately become the subject of the interrogation. This was not heard in the Senate and is a two year bill.

    AB 883 (Low): This bill seeks to enact a series of protections to prevent against discrimination against an individual based on public employee status. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    AB 982 (Eggman): This bill enhances the process of identifying homeless youth for subsidized child-care services. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    AB 1461 (Gonzalez): Provides for every person who has a driver's license or state identification card and who is eligible to register to vote to be automatically registered to vote, unless that person opts out. This bill passed out of both houses of the Legislature, and was enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    SB 3 (Leno): Seeks to increase the minimum wage in California to $11 in 2016, $13 in 2017, and then annually adjust based on the CPI. This bill was held under submission in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    SB 4 (Lara): This bill extends eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to individuals under age 19 who are otherwise eligible for those benefits but for their immigration status. Extends Medi -Cal eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to individuals age 19 and older if sufficient funding is available, and grants the Department of Health Care Services the authority to determine the number of individuals who may be enrolled. Requires the Secretary of California Health and Human Services Agency to apply to the federal Department of Health and Human Services for a Section 1332 innovation waiver in order to allow persons otherwise not able to obtain coverage through Covered California because of their immigration status to obtain coverage without premium or cost-sharing subsidies by waiving the requirement that Covered California offer only qualified health plans (QHPs). This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    SB 16 (Beall): This bill seeks to provide a multi-tiered mechanism to fund county and state highway rebuilding and repair. This multi-tiered funding mechanism includes increases to gas tax, vehicle license fees, and vehicle registration fees. This bill did not pass out of its house of origin in time to meet the deadline.
                        
    SB 23 (Mitchell): Seeks to repeal the Maximum Family Grant Rule in Cal-WORKS. This bill was placed on the Assembly Inactive File, and is a two-year bill.

    SB 38 (Liu): This is the Senate version of the EITC. Summary: Specifically, SB 38 would (1) create a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and (2) require the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) to establish an advance payments pilot program. This bill was not heard in the Assembly, and is a two-year bill.

    SB 168 (Gaines and Jackson): Clarifies the law regarding what subjects an individual to a misdemeanor, and which penalties that individual will face, it an individual interferes with firefighters performing their duties by flying a drone over a fire. Also makes firefighters immune from liability where they damage a drone which is interfering with their ability to perform their duties. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    SB 196 (Hancock): Seeks to clarify the authority of Adult Protective Services Workers to seek an order of protection from the court in instances where abuse or neglect is suspected, but the adult is not in conservatorship. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on September 9, 2015, as Chapter 285, Statutes 2015.

    SB 237 (Anderson): This bill requires training and continuing education for Animal Control Officers. This bill was held on suspense in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    SB 238 (Mitchell): Requires training and coordination of information regarding the administration of psychotropic medication to foster-youth. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    SB 239 (Hertzberg): This bill requires a local agency formation commission (LAFCO) to review a contract or agreement for new or extended fire service outside of a public agency's jurisdictional boundaries.  This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    SB 478 (Huff): Authorizes a pilot project where counties may elect to have their mandated reporters report low level/low risk child abuse and neglect incidents via the internet, thereby freeing up time for telephonic reporting for more serious offenses. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and was enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    SB 546 (Leno): This bill seeks to establish a rate approval process for large group health insurance products prior to the implementation of any rate change that equals or exceeds certain triggers, or at the request of a large group purchaser. The bill also establishes a rate review process of a health plan's or insurer's entire aggregated large group market products and requires the Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Insurance to conduct a public meeting regarding large group rate changes for each plan or insurer that offers coverage in the large group market on or before November 1, 2016 and annually thereafter. This passed out of both houses of the legislature, and was enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.

    SB 682 (Leno): CO-SPONSOR:  This bill seeks to establish specified standards and protocols which must be adhered to when trial courts contract-out for services that are currently or customarily performed by trial court employees. This bill passed out of both houses of the legislature, and has been enrolled to the Governor. It is on his desk, awaiting action.


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