Biweekly Briefing Articles

Fate of Many Critical Bills is Still Up in the Air 

When the Legislature returns from its summer break on Aug. 14, it will be a sprint to the finish line before lawmakers adjourn for interim recess on Sept. 14. There are a number of pieces of legislation that present significant concerns for patients and communities.    

 Among the bills that await lawmakers in Appropriations Committees when they return: 

  • Senate Bill 525 (Durazo, D-Los Angeles), which would increase the minimum wage for all workers in any health care facility to $21 in June 2024 and $25 in June 2025, and increase every year by 3.5% or inflation. The bill would also increase the minimum salary for exempt workers to 150% of the scheduled wage increases in the bill. A CHA alert is asking for your help in telling Assembly members — via calls or text messages — how this legislation would impact your organization’s ability to deliver care. CHA will continue to oppose the bill.
  • Assembly Bill (AB) 40 (Rodriguez, D-Pomona), which would establish an ambulance patient offload time standard — set locally by the Local Emergency Medical Services Agency — of no more than 30 minutes for 90% of total offloads per month. However, amendments that would have fined/penalized hospitals for not meeting the local standard and a new EMTALA complaint process are not moving forward. CHA will continue to oppose the bill as well as advocate for amendments to make it more workable for hospitals.
  • AB 1392 (Rodriguez, D-Pomona) would require hospitals to submit detailed and verifiable plans for increasing procurement from minority, women, LGBT, and disabled veteran business enterprises. CHA will continue to oppose this bill unless it is amended to delay implementation, change the annual reporting requirement to every three years, and remove the fine. 
  • AB 1063 (Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills) has been amended to lengthen the time between public hearings on nurse staffing ratio complaints to two years and would also include input from all stakeholders, not just nurses. The California Department of Public Health would still be required to report to the Legislature — on an annual basis — a list of complaints and if they were substantiated. CHA remains opposed to this bill.
  • AB 1331 (Wood, D-Healdsburg), which would require the Center for Data Insights and Innovation (Center) to take over the establishment, implementation, and all functions related to the California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) Data Exchange Framework (Framework). It would also require the Center to establish the CalHHS Data Exchange Board to develop recommendations and to approve any modifications to the Framework Data Sharing Agreement. CHA has expressed concerns with the bill and the author has committed to further discussions in the Appropriations Committee. 

While these are some of our highest-priority bills, in all, there are hundreds of bills that could impact your hospitals — the latest on all the issues we are tracking can be found in the Bill Tracker. With lawmakers home in their districts for the next several weeks, I encourage you to take the opportunity to meet with them to share concerns your hospitals may have about any of the bills that are currently being considered. We will continue our advocacy with lawmakers, but as we approach the finish line for the year, your collective voices will be vital to our efforts to protect access to care for all Californians.