A months-long series of informational hearings on achieving universal health coverage in California culminated Wednesday with experts voicing widespread praise for creating a single-payer system, but starkly different opinions on the pace of such an overhaul.
The Assembly convened hearings in the face of activist outrage with last year’s shelving of SB 562, an ambitious bill that would establish a state-funded healthcare system to cover nearly all of Californians’ medical costs without requiring premiums or co-pays.
Proponents of SB 562, including its sponsors, the California Nurses Assn., continued their call for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) to advance the bill Wednesday, rolling out a new analysis finding that between 60% and 80% of denials for care issued by insurance companies were overturned by state regulators. The data, they argued, underscored the need to dramatically reduce the role of private insurance companies in Californians’ healthcare.
At 10:04 a.m. Washington time Wednesday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rose in the House chamber and began speaking. For more than eight hours, she stood in four-inch heels, reading the stories of people brought to the country illegally as children, known as "Dreamers."
She described the children who were smuggled across the border in trash cans. She spoke of students who gave graduation speeches but weren't able to get loans to follow their classmates to college. She recounted the anxiety of Dreamers who lost their work permits after President Trump last year announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The decision by leaders of the California Legislature to voluntarily disclose some records related to sexual misconduct investigations could, under a new proposal, become state law.
On Tuesday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee introduced legislation to codify the guidelines unveiled last month for releasing records. Those rules were announced in the wake of conversations between Los Angeles Times attorneys and legislative officials, but do not have the force of law if future lawmakers reverse course.
“We are faced with a unique opportunity to fix some policies that should have been fixed a long time ago,” said Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), the committee chairman.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been speaking on the House floor since 7:04 a.m. Pacific time, pushing for House Republican leaders to promise to hold a vote on a legislative fix for the status of people brought to the country illegally as children.
The San Francisco Democrat is now nearing hour eight, having blown past the previous record for the longest House speech anyone can remember, which occurred in 1909 when Champ Clark of Missouri held the floor for 5 hours and 15 minutes to speak against a tariff overhaul.
Unlike Pelosi, who has spoken nearly without interruption, Clark was repeatedly interrupted during his remarks.
The California Department of Justice on Wednesday took its federal counterpart to court, seeking an order to release documents that would explain the rationale of a threat to withhold law enforcement grants unless agencies in the state cooperate with immigration enforcement.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Justice and its Office of Justice Programs, following up a Freedom of Information Act request in September for information about new conditions placed on law enforcement grants under the Trump administration.
The new conditions were set by the federal government as California declared itself a sanctuary state that is restricting how local law enforcement agencies cooperate on immigration enforcement.