On Wednesday, the California Legislature took action on several health-related bills.
Assembly Approves Bill Extending Laura's Law
On Wednesday, the Assembly voted 61-3 to pass a bill (AB 1569), by Assembly member Mike Allen (D-Santa Rosa), that would extend a law allowing courts to require treatment for people with severe mental illnesses, the AP/U-T San Diego reports (AP/U-T San Diego , 8/22).
The law -- passed in 2002 and known as Laura's Law -- affects people with mental illnesses who do not realize they require care.
Opponents of the law argue that compulsory mental health treatment is counterproductive and recalls a time when people with mental health conditions were kept in asylums (California Healthline, 5/4).
The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for consideration (AP/U-T San Diego , 8/22).
Senate Passes Vaccination Bill
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 21-14 to pass a bill (AB 2109), by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), that would require parents to visit a doctor's office before enrolling their children in public school without required vaccinations.
Supports of the bill say it aims to protect public health.
Opponents of the bill argue that it infringes on parental rights and increases medical costs for families.
The bill now moves back to the Assembly for a final vote (AP/U-T San Diego , 8/22).
Assembly Passes Chemotherapy Bill
On Wednesday, the Assembly voted 51-12 to pass a bill (AB 1000), by Assembly member Henry Perea (D-Fresno), that would prohibit health insurers from charging policyholders more for covering oral chemotherapy than for intravenous chemotherapy.
The legislation also would prevent insurers from increasing the cost of intravenous treatment rather than reducing the cost of the pill alternative.
The bill -- which would take effect in 2013 -- now goes to Gov. Brown for consideration (AP/Modern Healthcare, 8/22).
Senate Approves Bill Allowing Nurses To Dispense Birth Control
On Wednesday, the state Senate voted 23-15 to approve a bill (AB 2348), by Assembly member Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), that would allow registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nurse mid-wives to dispense various forms of birth control, including the pill, patches and rings.
Supporters of the bill say it would reduce delays in care as the state faces a physician shortage.
Opponents say the bill would reduce medical standards.
The bill moves back to the Assembly for a final vote (AP/Sacramento Bee, 8/22).