Biomonitoring Bill Moves to Governor
Legislation (SB 1379) that would create a statewide biomonitoring program has reached Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) desk after it was approved by lawmakers and several industries dropped their opposition to the bill, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The measure would require the Department of Health Services to create a program to test residents' blood, urine and other body fluids for toxic chemicals and other pollutants. Participation in the program would be voluntary. The program is intended to learn more about the health risks of potentially harmful substances by measuring how much, and in whom, they are found.
If the legislation is enacted, the governor and Legislature would appoint a nine-member panel to design the program. Summary reports of the findings would be released publicly every two years beginning in 2010, but individual test results would not be included. Schwarzenegger vetoed similar legislation last year.
However, Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy for the Breast Cancer Fund, said the governor likely will sign the bill after his staff negotiated changes with the measure's authors.
The changes included funding the program through the state general fund rather than new taxes or industry fees and a requirement that the panel developing the program include experts with backgrounds in epidemiology, biostatistics, toxicology and other disciplines. Industry groups dropped their opposition to the bill after the changes were made.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee said the program would cost about $7 million annually (Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, 9/11).
In other legislative news, the Los Angeles Times reports that "Schwarzenegger is raising money from all manner of businesses," including insurance companies, restaurants and farmers, which "[a]ll have business before the state." Schwarzenegger has raised $26.4 million so far this year for his re-election campaign, compared with the $13.4 million raised by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.
For example, some farmers and restaurant owners who have recently met with Schwarzenegger oppose legislation (SB 815) by Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) that would increase workers' compensation payments for permanently disabled workers.
Former Gov. George Deukmejian (R) criticized Schwarzenegger last week for accepting campaign contributions during bill signings. Deukmejian said fundraising during bill signings "should be avoided because it is a very sensitive time."
Schwarzenegger during the 2003 recall campaign had called for fundraising blackout periods when making major state decisions but never followed through on the idea, according to the Times (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 9/11).