Gov. Brown Signs, Vetoes Slate of Health-Related Bills by Deadline
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed into law and vetoed a number of health-related measures, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
The governor had until midnight on Sunday to sign or veto hundreds of measures passed by the Legislature (Thompson, AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/9).
A roundup of the governor's action on health-related pieces of legislation follows.
Brown Signs Autism Treatment Bill
On Sunday, Brown signed into law a bill (SB 946), by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), that requires insurers to cover beginning in July 2012 an autism treatment called applied behavioral analysis (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10).
The mandate willÂ last until 2014, when the provision could be included as an essential health benefit under the federal health reform law (York, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 10/9).
The mandate does not apply to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, or Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program. Some critics of the measure said it discriminatesÂ against children who are not coveredÂ by private health plans (Thompson, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 10/9).
Meanwhile, insurance companies have argued that the autism treatment is an educational therapy and not a medical treatment (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10).
In a statement, the California Association of Health Plans said the legislation could add nearly $850 million in health care costs annually for businesses and families (Harmon, San Jose Mercury News, 10/10).
Brown Signs Preventive STI Treatment Bill
Brown signed a bill (AB 499), by Assembly member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), that will allow children ages 12 and older to obtain preventive treatment for sexually transmitted infections without parental consent. The measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2012 (Cadelago/Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/9).
Under the bill, the preventive services that will be available include:
- Hepatitis vaccinations;
- MedicationsÂ to reduce the risk of HIV infection; and
- Vaccinations against the human papillomavirus (California Healthline, 9/27).
HPV caused more than 400 deaths in California in 2008 and is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/9).
Public health officials said the measure would help slow the progression of disease among minors (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/9).
Opponents of the measure have argued that it violates parental rights and that the safety of certain vaccines is not guaranteed (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/9).
Brown Vetoes Dense Breast Tissue Bill
Brown has vetoed legislation (SB 791), by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), that would have required mammogram providers to tell women if they have dense breast tissue, which can mask or mimic cancers (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 10/9).
In his veto message, Brown noted that he struggled to decide whether such information would help women (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10).
He wrote that a mandate to notify women of breast density "must be more carefully crafted, with words that educate more than they prescribe" (Siders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/9).
Brown Signs Anti-Seizure Medication Bill
Brown has signed into law a bill (SB 161), by Sen. Robert Huff (R-Diamond Bar), that will allow non-medical personnel to administer anti-seizure medication to students with epilepsy.
School district officials and parents of children with epilepsy have argued thatÂ children need access to the medication in schools that do not have a nurse.
Unions that represent nurses, teachers and school support staff have argued that only nurses should provide care for students with conditions like epilepsy (Rosenhall, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/7).
Brown Signs Ban on Minors' Use of Tanning Beds
Brown also signed a bill (SB 746), by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), that prevents children younger than age 18 from using tanning beds beginning Jan. 1, 2012 (McGreevy/York, Los Angeles Times, 10/10). California is the first state in the country to ban the use of tanning beds for children up to age 18.
Supporters of the legislation have said the type of radiation used in tanning beds can cause the skin cancer melanoma.
The Indoor Tanning Association, which opposed the measure, said that it would harm their businesses and that tanning salons already face stringent regulations from FDA and the state Department of Consumer Affairs (AP/Washington Post, 10/9).
Brown Signs Needle-Exchange, Syringe Legislation
Brown has signed legislation (AB 604), by Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), that will allow the state Department of Public Health to establish needle-exchange programs in communities where the agency believes there is a public health risk.
Brown said he believes the bill could reduce the spread of disease.
The League of California Cities and some police organizations had opposed the bill on the grounds that it removes authority from local entities (Smith, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/10).
Brown also has signed legislation (SB 41), by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), that will allow individuals to purchase sterile syringes at pharmacies without a prescription (Marcum, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 10/10).
Under the measure -- which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2012 -- physicians and pharmacists can give out up to 30 syringes per person in an effort to combat the spread of disease (Alexander, Fresno Bee, 10/10).
Brown Signs Surgery Center Bill
Brown has signed into law a bill (SB 100), by Sen. Curren Price (D-Inglewood), that requires private accrediting agencies to inspect outpatient surgery centers at least once every three years.
The measure also allows unannounced inspections and lets accrediting firmsÂ revoke certification if a surgery center fails to meet safety standards.
Brown Signs Involuntary Inmate Medication Bill
Brown has signed a measure (AB 366), by Assembly member Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa), that will streamline the process of involuntarily medicating state mental hospital inmates who have been declared incompetent (Wilkison, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/10).
Previously, patients had to consent to such medication at their original court hearing. A new hearing was necessary if the individual withdrew consent upon entering a state facility.
The new law allows courts to set involuntary medication decisions at the same hearing where patients are committed to a state hospital (Romney, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 10/10).
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the California Psychological Association and the California State Law Enforcement Association supported the legislation (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/10).
Brown Vetoes Hospital License Bill
Brown has vetoed legislation (SB 408), by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), that would have required hospitals to acquire a new license after a change of ownership or change in ownership interest.
In his veto message, Brown wrote that license applications can be lengthy and costly and that the bill would have mandated such applications "for routine business transactions that do not require such scrutiny" (Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times, 10/10).
Brown Signs Patient Lifting Measure
Brown has signed a bill (AB 1136), by Assembly member Sandre Swanson (D-Alameda), requiring hospitals to implement a patient handling policy that includes "lift teams" trained in moving patients with appropriate equipment.
The measure also protects employees from disciplinary action if they choose not to reposition a patient because of safety concerns.
The bill was supported by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (Kurtz, Becker's ASC Review, 10/10).
Brown Vetoes Nursing Board Legislation
Brown has vetoed a bill (SB 538), by Price, that would have expanded pension benefitsÂ for a certain group of investigators of the state Board of Registered Nursing. The board licenses, investigates and disciplines registered nurses.
In his veto message, Brown wrote, "This makes no sense fiscally and flies in the face of much-needed pension reform."
In addition, the bill would have extended the nursing board's authority through 2016. Price said lawmakers would restore the board as soon as possible in a way that addresses Brown's concerns (Jewett, California Watch, 10/11).
Brown Signs Legislation To Curb Sales of Synthetic Drugs
Brown has signed legislation (AB 486) that will make it a misdemeanor to sell or distribute synthetic stimulants that are marketed and packaged as incense and bath salts.
Brown Signs Raft of Clean Drinking Water Bills
Brown has signed seven bills designed to improve the quality of drinking water.
Some of the measures will let disadvantaged communities receive grants for water infrastructure projects and will help water companies secure funding for construction projects (Clemings, Fresno Bee, 10/7).
Brown Vetoes Ban on Shackling of Pregnant Inmates
Brown has vetoed legislation (AB 568), byÂ Skinner, that would have prohibited the shackling of pregnant inmates.
In his veto message, Brown said the language of the bill "goes too far" and could have banned the use of handcuffs or other restraints on pregnant inmates (McGreevy/York, Los Angeles Times, 10/10).
For additional coverage of health-related legislation passed by Brown, see today's Capitol Desk post.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.