Senate Appropriations Committee Hears Key Health Access Bill and Special Session Tobacco Control Legislation

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee heard Health Access sponsored bill, AB 533 (Bonta) on “surprise billing” and select special session tobacco control bills.

AB 533 (Bonta), which would protect consumers from surprise bills from out-of-network doctors when a consumer does the right thing by going to an in-network hospital, lab or imaging center was not voted on in committee, however, Health Access, the American Cancer Society and AARP testified in support of the bill before the bill was referred to the Senate Appropriations Suspense.

The following special session tobacco control bills were also heard:

• SB X2 8 (Lieu) – would require all schools to be tobacco free.
• SB X2 7 (Hernandez) – would increase the age of sale for tobacco products to 21.
• SB X2 5 (Leno) – would add e-cigarettes to existing tobacco products definition.
• SB X2 10 (Beall) – would establish an annual Board of Equalization (BOE) tobacco licensing fee program.

All of the tobacco control bills, with the exception of SB X2 8 (Lieu), passed with a party line vote of 5-2, with Democrats voting aye and Republicans voting no. SB X2 8 (Lieu) passed with a vote of 5-0, with democrats in support and republicans not voting.

SB X2 6 (Monning), which would close loopholes in smoke-free workplace laws, including hotel lobbies, small business, break rooms, and tobacco retailers, was not heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee today because it was referred directly to the Senate Floor from policy committee last week.

SB X2 9 (Mcguire), which would allow local jurisdictions to tax tobacco, was also not heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but for a different reason; There are no costs associated with the bill.

Today the Assembly Public Health and Developmental Services Committee will hear the following special session Assembly tobacco control bills (the Assembly bills are identical to the senate bills):

• AB X2 6 (Cooper) which would add e-cigarettes to existing tobacco products definition
• AB X2 7 (Stone) – would close loopholes in smoke free workplace laws, including hotel lobbies, small business, break rooms, and tobacco retailers.
• AB X2 8 (Wood) – would increase the age of sale for tobacco products to 21.
• AB X2 9 (Thurmond and Nazarian) – would require all schools to be tobacco free.
• AB X2 10 (Bloom) – would allow local jurisdictions to tax tobacco.
• AB X2 11 (Nazarian) – would establish an annual BOE tobacco licensing fee program.

For further information on tobacco-related bills, see Save Lives CA’s helpful overview. Health Access is a proud member of this coalition. 

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