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Raw milk, flu vaccine bills highlight the week’s legislative actions

The state legislature wrapped up full Senate and Assembly activity for 2013 with a variety of activities in various legislative committees as well as full State Assembly action:

  • The Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Rural Issues voted 3-2 to support greater sales of unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, but first amended the original bill (Senate Bill 236) to include additional testing and other requirements for dairy producers wishing to sell this “raw milk.” The Society opposes allowing broader sales of this product, and therefore opposes the bill. The bill could be scheduled for full Senate action in 2014. Companion legislation in the State Assembly (Assembly Bill 287) has not yet received a committee hearing.
  • The Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing on legislation that would bar employers from requiring employees to receive influenza vaccinations as a condition of their employment. The Society opposes Assembly Bill 247, and provided this testimony to the committee.
  • The State Assembly passed various bills on Tuesday that are a result of the Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health, and the Society supported three bills in particular. Assembly Bill 452 creates a child psychiatry consultation program, Assembly Bill 453 promotes better continuity of care by better matching some of the state‚Äôs mental health care records law with the federal HIPAA standard, and Assembly Bill 454 creates a primary care and psychiatry grant program to promote those specialists working in underserved areas of the state. All three bills passed either unanimously or by voice vote, and now move to the State Senate.

The State Assembly’s final day of session for 2013 was scheduled for today; the Senate adjourned for the year on Tuesday. Both houses will be back in session in mid-January. Committee work will continue in the meantime.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, with any questions.