CSAC Bulletin Article

Legislature to Act Quickly on Two-Year Bills

Upon the adjournment of session last fall, several bills were deemed two-year bills and left open for action upon the Legislature reconvening. On January 4, the Legislature will reconvene and will have until January 31 to take action on those bills in both policy and fiscal committees. Key HHS-related bills are noted below.

Behavioral Health
AB 1300 (Ridley-Thomas) – OPPOSE
Two-Year Bill

AB 1300 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in August. CSAC, along with the County Behavioral Health Directors Association and the National Alliance for Mental Illness – who represent the family members of those suffering from mental illness – strongly opposed AB 1300. AB 1300 would have made over 80 technical changes to the Lanterman Petris-Short (LPS) Act (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5000 et. seq.) – commonly referred to as the 5150 process– concerning the involuntary commitment to a mental health institution in California.

This month, the California Hospital Association (CHA) – the sponsor of the bill – has released preliminary draft changes to the bill language. We are in the process of analyzing the new language and communicating with CHA, partners, and legislative staff. We are asking for the bill to be pulled back into the policy committee process if the proposed new language is amended into it so that all parties can engage in a full policy review.

AB 1299 (Ridley-Thomas) – SUPPORT IF AMENDED
Two-Year Bill

AB 1299, by Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley -Thomas, would make changes to how foster children placed outside of their county of original jurisdiction are able to access mental health services. It would require the Department of Health Care Services to issue policy guidance that establishes the presumptive transfer of responsibility for mental health services from the county of original jurisdiction to the foster child’s county of residence.

CSAC has taken a SUPPORT IF AMENDED on AB 1299, as it seeks to ensure foster children receive services mental health services in a timely manner. However, CSAC continues to work with the author’s office, the sponsors – the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health Care Services, and the California Health and Human Services Agency to address county concerns regarding the current bill language and implementation. One remaining issue is a disagreement regarding placement authority, and CSAC is working with the County Welfare Directors Association to educate all parties on existing federal and state statute pertaining to county placement authority. It is unclear as of this writing if the county concerns regarding the July 16 version of the bill will be addressed. AB 1299 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee and must move in January to remain viable.

AB 1193 (Eggman) – Oppose Unless Amended
Two-Year Bill

AB 1193, by Assembly Member Eggman, requires counties to hold a public hearing on Laura’s Law by January 1, 2018. The bill would also extend the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Demonstration Project Act of 2002 to January 1, 2022 from the current repeal date of January 1, 2017, which is something that CSAC supports.

CSAC took an oppose unless amended position on AB 1193 which was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee must be heard in January.

Public Health
SB 476 (Mendoza) – Oppose Unless Amended
Two-Year Bill

SB 476, by Senator Tony Mendoza, would expand the definition of an organized camp to include resident camps and would increase the responsibility of the local health officer. Local health officers would be required to enforce all regulations of organized camps, including building codes and staffing, in addition to the health and sanitation.

Organized camps defined by current statute present public health concerns such as water supply, swimming pools, and food preparation. However, organized camps covered by this expanded definition do not. Therefore, assuming the enforcement of those camps would be unnecessarily burdensome and potentially costly to the county.

Despite efforts from the County Health Executives Association of California (CHEAC) – a CSAC affiliate – and CSAC during the 2015-16 legislative session, the bill as currently amended continues to put additional mandates on local health officers. CSAC will likely move to an oppose position when the 2016-17 legislative session begins.

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