Legislative News … Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

On his first day in office, President Biden signed 28 (!) executive orders, setting a new record.  Looks as if President Biden wanted to make a statement.  Now, states’ attorneys general are looking very closely at them and taking issue with some.

It looks as if 2021 will be a very interesting year.  We may be tempted to think, “Well, at least it’s not 2020, the year we all want to forget!”  However, the new year is proving to be difficult as well.  The coronavirus continues to rage, with new strains spreading quickly throughout the world (that may or may not bow to the vaccines we already have or are developing).  Nonetheless, we hope you have gotten your appointments — as the current vaccines have proven to be highly effective for what we’re dealing with today!

Here is a rundown of some California legislation (with author/sponsor) that was passed in 2020:

AB 890 (Wood) Nurse Practitioners – Full Practice Authority – Allows nurse practitioners (NPs) who meet certain standards to transition to practice at the full level of their training without the routine presence of a physician.  This will increase access to primary care for millions of Californians. – SIGNED by the Governor

SB 1196 (Umberg) – Price Gouging – Expands existing protections for consumers in several important ways.  First, it applies price-gouging restrictions to existing sellers as well as new-product sellers who are charging unreasonably high prices for critical supplies.  It keeps prices from going up in a declaration of a state of emergency and keeps them from going up beyond 30 days after such a declaration. – SIGNED by the Governor

SB 1383 (Jackson) – Paid Family Leave Job Protections – This will protect working Californians from losing their jobs when they take leave to care for themselves or a seriously ill family member. – SIGNED by the Governor

SB 1123 (Chang) – Elder Abuse – Update Definitions for Use by Law Enforcement – Amends California Penal Code 368.5 to align the definition of elder and dependent adult abuse with the definition currently found in the Welfare and Institutions Code.  It also requires that the updated definitions be included in updates of policy manuals and handbooks used by law enforcement agencies.  This means that law enforcement agencies will have accurate terms to use in the course of reporting or investigating claims of abuse. – SIGNED by the Governor

SB 852 (Pan) – Prescription Drugs – Office of Drug Contracting and Manufacturing – Requires the California Health and Human Services Agency to enter into partnerships to increase competition, lower prices, and address shortages in the market for generic prescription drugs, to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for public and private purchasers, taxpayers, and consumers, and to increase patient access to affordable drugs. – SIGNED by the Governor

AB 2644 (Wood) – Nursing Homes – Transparency Requirements – Adds a much-needed element of transparency and accountability for California’s skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) during public health emergencies caused by a communicable disease, such as COVID-19.  AB 2644 mandates several measures that will protect nursing home residents while also giving them access to the advocacy support of a long-term care ombudsman.  Moreover, AB 2644 requires that SNFs ensure that health care providers (HCPs) receive infection prevention and control training.  AB 2644 makes this common-sense provision applicable at all times, not just during an emergency. – SIGNED by the Governor

And it looks as if Governor Newsom has included the older generations in his budget proposal, which enhances funding for many programs that help older Californians remain living in their homes and communities as they age.