Davis Approves Three Health-Related Bills
Gov. Gray Davis (D) over the weekend signed three health-related bills. Summaries of the bills appear below:
- Bioterrorism preparedness: Davis on Friday signed a bill (SB 406), sponsored by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), that establishes a process for the allocation of $50.8 million in federal funds to improve the state's response to bioterrorist attacks. The legislation mandates that each county or municipality receive at least $100,000 and allocates the remainder of the funds based on per capita population percentage. Davis said, "This vital funding will be used for bioterrorism preparedness and response plans, and other public health threats or emergencies" (Office of the Governor release, 9/6).
- Drinking water: Davis on Sunday signed a bill (SB 1822), sponsored by Sen. Byron Sher (D-Stanford), that requires the Department of Health Services by Jan. 1, 2004, to establish a standard for the amount of perchlorate, a chemical that can cause thyroid problems in humans, allowed in drinking water. After that date, no drinking water systems could market water with perchlorate levels that violate the standard. In 2000, DHS found perchlorate in 44 public drinking water systems and has shut down wells in the San Gabriel Valley and Rancho Cordova (Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 9/9).
- National Guard health benefits: Davis on Saturday signed a bill that expands health coverage for California residents on active duty in the National Guard. More than 5,000 state residents have enrolled in the National Guard since Sept. 11 (Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 9/8).