California Healthline Highlights Recent Legislative Action
The Legislature on Tuesday approved measures to delay a compliance deadline for state seismic safety standards for hospitals, create a state universal health care system and address other health-related issues. Summaries appear below.
AB 1184, by Assembly member Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), would prohibit mental hospitals, prisons, veterans' homes and other care facilities from requiring nurses to work overtime.
The Assembly voted 44-34 in favor of the bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration.
SB 12, by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk), would require that all foods sold in elementary schools meet nutrition standards. Under the bill, fat or sugar could comprise no more than 35% of snacks sold in schools. According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill would require "all but the most healthful food" to be sold only as part of a full meal.
The Senate voted 23-12 in favor of the bill, which now goes to the Assembly for consideration.
In addition, the Senate voted 24-10 in favor of a bill (SB 965) by Escutia that would require that at least half of the drinks sold in high schools be fruit- or vegetable-based beverages with no sweeteners, unsweetened drinking water, milk, or "electrolyte replacement" beverages with limited sweetener.
SB 167, by Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), would exempt most hospitals from the 2008 deadline for complying with state seismic safety standards if hospitals agree to complete construction ensuring that they could remain open following an earthquake by 2020, the Times reports. The current deadline for completing all earthquake-related construction is 2030. Under the bill, buildings considered to be at extra risk for earthquake damage would still be required to meet the 2008 standards.
The Senate voted 27-3 in favor of the bill, which now goes to the Assembly for consideration (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 6/1).
SB 484, by Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), would require cosmetics manufacturers to inform the state of all their products' ingredients, some of which Migden said have been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
SB 600, by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), would create a statewide biomonitoring program to test for potentially toxic chemicals in breast milk, urine and blood samples of volunteers. The bill would establish a 16-member advisory panel to make recommendations based on the program's findings (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee , 6/1).
The Senate voted 22-13 in favor of SB 484 and 21-13 in favor of SB 600. Both bills now go to the Assembly for consideration (Los Angeles Times, 6/1).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Tuesday reported on the legislation. The segment includes comments from Jane Williams, director of California Communities Against Toxics (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 5/31). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
In addition, KPCC's "Talk of the City" on Tuesday included an interview with Mike Montgomery, bureau chief for Capitol Public Radio, about the legislation (Morrison, "Talk of the City," KPCC, 5/31). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
SB 840, by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), would create a universal health care system that would "replace" existing private health insurance, the Bee reports. The bill would create a new state health insurance agency administered by a new, elected health commissioner (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee , 6/1).
The bill does not specify a funding mechanism. According to the Times, Kuehl "plans to develop a combination of employer and personal income taxes to merge into the measure next year."
The Senate voted 24-14 in favor of the measure, which goes to the Assembly for consideration (Los Angeles Times, 6/1).