2017 Has Been a Busy Year So Far

 

By Rebecca Gonzales

This year has been a particulary busy year for legislation, partially in response to actions by the Trump administration. Many members of the Democratic caucus have introduced bills as a way to protect against federal actions, especially in the areas of immigration and healthcare. The State Assembly also increased the number of bills that each member can introduce.

The legislature is now on their summer recess and will return in late August. For bills to be active and moving through the legislative process, they must have been approved by one house (the Senate or Assembly) and most are now waiting to be heard in the fiscal (Appropriations) committee. After passage out of the fiscal committee, only a few more votes are required before a bill goes to the Governor for his signature.

NASW-CA utilizes the volunteer efforts of our legislative committee, which works with the Director of Government Relations, to determine whether we will support, oppose or remain neutral on a large list of bills that intersect with the interests of our profession and our clients. Below is a partial list of bills that we have taken a position on and that are still working their way through the legislative process. This includes our three lobby days bills and bills that we “co-sponsored,” which means we are a primary supporter and have prioritized these bills.

LOBBY DAYS BILLS

SB 8 (Beall) Mental Health: Pre-Trial Diversion

Grants trial courts the discretion to postpone prosecution of a minor offense, for up to 2 years, and to instead order mental health treatment for a person whose mental health condition played a significant role in the commission of the offense. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 54 (De Leon) The California Values Act

Limits the use of state and local law enforcement resources for enforcing federal immigration laws. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 219 (Wiener) LGBT Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights

Prohibits any long-term care facility from discriminating on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee

CO-SPONSORED SUPPORT BILLS

AB 456 (Thurmond)

Applies the 90-day rule, which is applicable to Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs), to social workers. This will allow MSWs to retroactively count supervised hours gained after graduation if they apply for registration as an ASW within 90 days of graduation and receive their number. Status: Two-year bill – further activity has been delayed until January 2018

AB 1188 (Nazarian)

Adds $10 to the LCSW renewal licensure fee, or $5 a year, to shore up the Mental Health Services Provider Education (loan repayment) Program. Status: Senate Appropriations Committee

SB 349 (Lara)

Establishes maximum caseloads for social workers and other professionals at dialysis clinics. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 374 (Newman)

Increases and codifies enforcement of mental health parity laws. Status: Signed by the Governor

 

SUPPORT BILLS

AB 3 (Bonta)

Provides grants to train public defenders on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Status: Two-year bill

AB 10 (Garcia)

Requires public schools, serving youth living in poverty in grades 6 to 12, to provide feminine hygiene products free of charge. Status: Senate Appropriations Committee

AB 90 (Weber)

Shifts responsibility for the Calgang database to the Department of Justice (DOJ). This change is to improve the accuracy of the database, which has been shown to unfairly profile minority communities. Status: Senate Appropriations Committee

AB 93 (Medina)

Bill sponsored by the Board of Behavioral Sciences to update requirements for supervisors of ASW’s and other mental health interns and associates. Status: Two-year bill

AB 186 (Eggman)

Allows specified counties and cities to provide supervised consumption services to prevent drug overdoses and to refer users to services. Status: On the Senate Floor

AB 850 (Chau)

Adds a member to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) who has knowledge and experience in reducing mental health disparities for racial and ethnic communities. Status: On the Senate Floor

AB 1008 (McCarty) Ban the Box

Prohibits public employers and private employers, with certain exceptions, from asking an applicant about their criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. Status: Senate Appropriations Committee

SB 17 (Hernandez)

Increases transparency in prescription drug costs by requiring drug makers to provide a notice to purchasers on planned price increases. The bill also requires health plans to report the proportion of the premium which is spent on prescription drugs. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 10 (Hertzberg)

Reforms the money bail system to prevent incarceration for those who cannot afford to post bail.  The bill limits pretrial detention, eliminates the use of bail schedules, and establishes pretrial service agencies tasked with conducting risk assessments on arrested persons and preparing reports with recommendations for conditions of release. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 31 (Lara)

Prohibits local or state authorities from disclosing information to the federal government about religious affiliation, national origin or ethnicity for the purpose of creating a registry or from helping to create, implement or enforce such a registry or database. Status: Assembly Appropriations

SB 179 (Atkins)

Modifies the procedures for individuals to change their name and gender marker to reflect their gender identity on state-issued I.D.’s. Also creates a third nonbinary gender identification for state-issued I.D.’s. Status: Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 180 (Mitchell)

Eliminates three-year sentence enhancements for prior convictions for most nonviolent drug offenses. Status: Assembly Floor Committee

SB 562 (Lara)

Enacts the Healthy California program to provide comprehensive, universal single-payer healthcare. Status: 2-year bill

 

OPPOSE BILLS

AB 298 (Gallagher)

Requires law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities for an individual convicted of a felony. Status: Two-year bill

AB 517 (Harper)

Prohibits a state agency, department, board, or commission from prohibiting or denying travel to states on the basis of political beliefs. Status: Two-year bill

AB 536 (Melendez)

Authorizes counties to not comply with a state law if compliance jeopardizes federal funding. Status: Two-year bill

AB 985 (Allen, Travis)

Requires a voter to have specified identification in order to have their ballot counted. Status: Two-year bill

AB 1252 (Allen, Travis)

Repeals the TRUST Act (which limits immigration holds in local jails) and prohibits state grants to county and local “sanctuary jurisdictions.”  Status: Two-year bill

 

We do not expect the two-year bills on our “oppose” list to be taken up next year, in other words, they are essentially “dead” bills. Here is a complete list of all the bills that NASW-CA has a support or oppose position on this year.

http://ct3k1.capitoltrack.com/ExportReport.ashx?format=pdf&o

 

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