With a state Senate vote possibly imminent on a single-payer health system for California, supporters Wednesday released a study estimating it would cut spending on healthcare in the state by 18% and cost tens of billions of dollars less than the state's estimate for the plan.
Extra costs could be covered by tax increases, according to the analysis sponsored by the California Nurses Assn./National Nurses United, the leading supporter of legislation.
A legislative analysis had estimated the cost of the proposed system to be $400 billion annually, but a study released by the nurses Wednesday estimates the yearly cost would be$331 billion as of 2017.
Californians would no longer be able to use tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, in public housing and within 25 of those buildings under a measure approved Tuesday by the state Assembly.
Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) said the measure builds on a smoking ban approved last year for federal public housing projects by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In addition to applying the smoking ban to state housing, expansion to include e-cigarettes makes sure the law cover new technology in tobacco use. The bill takes effect by July 30, 2018. Wood said tobacco-related diseases cost taxpayers significant funds each year.
Californians would be prohibited from buying more than one firearm in any 30-day period under a measure approved Tuesday by the Senate to reduce straw purchasing and circumvention of gun laws.
California already bars people from buying more than one handgun a month. The bill by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) expands the limit to also cover long guns, including rifles and shotguns.
The measure, which next goes to the Assembly for consideration, seeks to address concerns that some people buy large quantities of guns and then sell them on the underground market to criminals and others not eligible to own guns.
Californians would be barred from smoking or using electronic cigarettes in state parks and at beaches under a bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate.
Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Concord) said his bill would address the health problems caused by smoking but also the harm done to the environment by discarded cigarette butts and the fire danger posed by the practice.
“Cigarette butts contain more than 150 toxic chemicals and although small in size, have a huge negative impact on the environment and the animals that live in them,” Glazer told his colleagues.
California teenagers wouldn't be required to start their school day before 8:30 am under a bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate.
The legislation by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) would not fully take effect until 2020, and sparked a lively floor debate over the science on the sleep patterns of middle and high school students, and whether they simply need to go to bed earlier.
"I expect this would only dispose them to stay up later," said state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). Another Republican lawmaker, Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), said students need to learn what it's like in the workforce.
Alarmed by skyrocketing prices for some prescription drugs, the California Senate on Tuesday approved a measure aimed at increasing pressure to hold down costs to consumers by requiring more public reporting of price hikes.
The lawmakers approved a bill that would require drug manufacturers to notify health plans and state purchasers such as the prison department of increases in the wholesale cost of drugs in writing at least 90 days before the new costs were to take effect.
The measure also requires that health plans and insurers notify state regulators of pricing information for the most costly drugs.
Just months after state voters legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the state Senate on Tuesday voted to prohibit its use in automobiles because of concerns over drugged driving.
A bill by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) makes it an infraction for drivers and passengers to use marijuana in motor vehicles. Stiffer penalties already exist for motorists found to be driving while impaired by drugs.
California voters legalized recreational use of marijuana in November although the state does not plan to begin issuing licenses for its legal sale until January.
California lawmakers are once again seeking to expand the state's paid family leave program to smaller businesses after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar measure last year.
SB 63, authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), on Tuesday moved out of the state Senate with a 25-13 vote. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.
The legislation, a priority bill for the California Legislative Women's Caucus, would allow parents at companies with 20 to 49 employees to take 12 weeks of leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child — without fear of losing their jobs. Under the current state law, only workers at businesses with 50 or more workers can take advantage of program.
The candidate who narrowly lost the race to be the next leader of the California Democratic Party on Tuesday filed a formal challenge of the election result.
Kimberly Ellis’ campaign, which was already in the process of reviewing the ballots cast during the state party’s convention two weekends ago, said they were filing the challenge to meet a requirement in the party bylaws that such an action must be taken within seven days of the contested act.
"Our review process is ongoing. It's critical that all formal processes outlined by the CDP's bylaws are followed at this time so that there can be no concern about raising issues in the manner prescribed by our party," said Hilary Crosby, immediate past controller for the state party and an Ellis supporter.