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AARP California 2020 Legislative Summary

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AB 890 (Wood) – Nurse Practitioners – Full Practice Authority

AB 890 allows nurse practitioners (NPs) who meet certain standards to transition to practice at the full level of their training without the routine presence of a physician. This will increase access to primary care for millions of Californians.

SIGNED by the Governor

SB 1196 (Umberg) – Price Gouging

This bill expands existing protections for consumers in several important ways.

First, it applies price-gouging restrictions to existing sellers as well as new sellers of products who are charging unreasonably high prices for critical supplies.

Second, SB 1196 allows policymakers to set a date prior to the declaration of emergency as a basis for comparing price increases. In the case of COVID-19, Governor Newsom declared a statewide emergency on March 4. However, prices for certain supplies started spiking after the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30.

Finally, this legislation allows policymakers to extend enforcement of this price gouging law beyond the 30 days after the state of emergency declaration, if necessary to protect the lives, property, and welfare of Californians.

SIGNED by the Governor

SB 1383 (Jackson) – Paid Family Leave Job Protections

SB 1383 will protect working Californians from losing their jobs when they take leave to care for themselves or a seriously ill family member.

SIGNED by the Governor

AB 3277 (Jones-Sawyer) – Parking Penalty Fees

AB 3277 allows individuals to pay up to $750 of their unpaid parking penalties in installments. It would extend the installment period from 18 to 30 months. It also increases the amount of time a person has to file for a payment plan to address fines and fees from 60 to 120 days. Additionally, the bill ensures that all payment information is easily accessible by requiring that local processing agencies post it prominently on their websites.

In short, AB 3277 provides a mechanism for ensuring that our state is doing all it can to protect the economic and health security of our most vulnerable Californians.

SIGNED by the Governor

SB 1123 (Chang) – Elder Abuse – Update Definitions for Use by Law Enforcement

This bill amends California Penal Code 368.5 to align the definition of elder and dependent adult abuse with the definition currently found in the Welfare and Institutions Code. It also requires that the updated definitions be included in updates of policy manuals and handbooks used by law enforcement agencies. This means that law enforcement agencies will have accurate terms to use in the course of reporting or investigating claims of abuse.

SIGNED by the Governor

SB 852 (Pan) – Prescription Drugs – Office of Drug Contracting and Manufacturing

SB 852 requires the California Health and Human Services Agency to enter into partnerships to increase competition, lower prices, and address shortages in the market for generic prescription drugs, to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for public and private purchasers, taxpayers, and consumers, and to increase patient access to affordable drugs.

SIGNED by the Governor

AB 2644 (Wood) – Nursing Homes – Transparency Requirements

AB 2644 adds a much-needed element of transparency and accountability for California’s skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) during public health emergencies caused by a communicable disease, such as COVID-19. AB 2644 mandates several measures that will protect nursing home residents while also giving them access to the advocacy support of a long-term care ombudsman

AB 2644 fixes the problem of uneven reporting of COVID-19 deaths by requiring timely, consistent reporting during a declared emergency due to a communicable disease. The bill also mandates that nursing homes report each disease-related death or suspected disease-related death to the Department of Public Heath (CDPH) within 24 hours. Additionally, CDPH must report the total number of disease-related deaths and suspected deaths - while protecting patients’ medical privacy - on its website on a weekly basis. 

 

AB 2644 codifies into law the All Facility Letter (AFL) 20-53 from CDPH, which, among other things, provides updated infection control guidance for health care personnel (HCP). Moreover, AB 2644 requires that SNFs ensure that HCPs receive infection prevention and control training.  AB 2644 makes this common sense provision applicable at all times, not just during an emergency.

SIGNED by the Governor

AB 376 (Stone) – Student Loan Servicing

AB 376, the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, makes California the first state in the nation to create a comprehensive set of rights for people holding student loan debt, by giving borrowers the right to hold lenders accountable when they fail to meet basic servicing standards. AB 367 also:

Federal repayment plans—The Department of Education offers income-driven repayment plans for students who take out loans but cannot afford the standard payment amount. Payments can be as low as 10 percent of discretionary income. But federal Parent PLUS borrowers cannot directly enroll in income-driven repayment plans. Those who wish to do so must first consolidate their federal loans and then apply for the least generous income-driven repayment plan. This could still leave them in debt for 25 years. In addition, federal student loan borrowers who are in default cannot enter receive an income-driven repayment plan until they “cure” the default. Yet they may be in default because their required payments were never affordable and they did not know that they could enroll in income-driven repayment plans prior to defaulting.AB 376 protects borrowers by establishesing the Student Borrower Bill of Rights,, which will do the following:

  • Bans “abusive” student loan servicing practices that take unreasonable advantage of borrowers’ confusion over loan repayment options;
  • Creates minimum servicing standards related to application of payments, paperwork retention and specialized staff training;
  • Establishes a Student Borrower Advocate within the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) responsible for reviewing complaints, gathering data and coordinating with related state agencies; and
  • Grants DBO additional “market monitoring” authorities, to collect better data about the student loan servicing industry.

SIGNED by the Governor

AB 841 (Ting) – Electric Vehicles Subsidies [OPPOSED]

Despite the many laudable goals of electric vehicle deployment, the costs involved in building charging stations are not directly related to the electrical service consumers rely on to power their homes and maintaining their health and safety. It is hard enough to pay the electric service for their own homes, without also subsidizing those businesses who want to develop electric vehicle ("EV") charging stations and individuals who are wealthy enough to own an electric car.

 

AB 841 also usurps the authority of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by interfering with pending contested cases and compelling decisions in favor of the applicant utilities.  Meddling in pending PUC cases with a legislative override would violate the independence of that critical agency, putting California utility customers at risk. 

           

SIGNED by the Governor

SB 1207 (Jackson) – Nursing Homes – Alternative Power Requirements

SB 1207 helps make nursing homes safer places to live by addressing an emerging risk factor that will be with us for years to come: public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). Unsafe temperatures, unrefrigerated medications, and medical devices without power can all have deadly consequences for nursing home residents.

This bill codifies and clarifies the federal 96-hour standard on back-up power supplies, which the CA Department of Public Health stopped enforcing in March of 2019, aligning it with current federal law. In doing so, it will ensure that the standard is well known and enforceable, regardless of any changes in federal regulations.

Specifically, SB 1207 requires skilled nursing facilities to have alternative power systems that maintain safe temperatures and power to all critical systems for resident health and safety for no less than 96 hours during any type of power outage.

VETOED by the Governor (Veto Message HERE)

AB 2100 (Wood) – Medi-Cal Pharmacy Benefit – Independent Medical Review System

AB 2100 requires the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish an Independent Prescription Drug Medical Review (IPDMR) for the Medi-Cal outpatient pharmacy benefit, including the safeguards created by the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act.  The bill also provides that any Medi-Cal beneficiary grievance involving a disputed health service is eligible for review under the IPDMR. 

VETOED by the Governor (Veto Message HERE)

AB 2164 (Rivas, Aguiar-Curry, Mathis) – Expand Approved Telehealth Services to Support Family Caregivers

AB 2164 clarifies that in addition to providing services through telehealth, community health centers may establish a patient through real-time or store-and-forward telehealth services in community settings.  This bill would have required a telehealth visit for purposes of reimbursement by Medi-Cal to a community health clinic to include a face-to-face over video or a “store and forward” option, which is comprised of sending of images such as x-rays to a health care provider. This simple clarification has the potential to increase access to vital and cost-effective health care services to thousands of patients in underserved communities across California.

VETOED by the Governor

AB 1782 (Chau) – COVID-19 Contact Tracing

AB 1782 enables the use of technology to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring that proper safeguards are in place to protect the privacy and the employment rights of individuals and to prohibit the misuse of the data collected in the process.

STALLED in Senate Appropriations

AB 1659 (Bloom) – Wildfire Bonds [OPPOSED]

AARP opposed AB 1659 for multiple reasons. First, this bill would set a dangerous precedent by using utility ratepayers as a funding source for unrelated state expenditures.  In addition, while AARP has long advocated holding the CPUC and utility companies accountable for investing in wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts, we do not believe that all of the fiscal burden should fall on California’s ratepayers, who already pay some the highest electric rates in the nation.

AB1659 is a poorly crafted bill, as it attempts to balance the budget on the backs of California ratepayers, impacting low-income Californians the most.

DIED on Senate Floor

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