Brown Signs Into Law Several Health-Related Measures

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) recently signed into law several health-related measures.

Law Protecting Drug Users Seeking Medical Help

On Monday, Brown signed legislation (AB 472) that exempts California residents from prosecution in overdose cases if they seek medical assistance, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Sanders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/17).

Lawmakers said the law, by Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), is necessary to reduce drug overdose deaths in California. They said that drug users often do not seek medical help because they fear prosecution (California Healthline, 8/29).

Under the law, immunity also can be grated for possession of drug paraphernalia. The law does not apply to other drug-related offenses, such as drug sales or driving under the influence.

The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2013 ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/17).

Law Requiring Infant Screening

On Saturday, Brown signed a bill (AB 1731), by Assembly member Marty Block (D-San Diego), that requires infants to be tested for congenital heart disease before leaving the hospital.

The law requires the state Department of Health Services to begin phasing in the tests July 1, 2013, and for all hospitals to comply with the requirement by 2016.

Under the law, parents who object to the test can refuse it (Gardner [1], U-T San Diego, 9/17).

Law Penalizing Stores That Sell Tobacco to Minors

On Saturday, Brown signed legislation (AB 1301), by Assembly member Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), that requires the state to suspend a store's license for 45 days if it has three violations for selling tobacco to minors within five years. Under the law, the state must permanently revoke the store's license if it has five violations within five years (Megerian, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 9/15).

Brown Expected To Sign Workers' Compensation Bill

On Tuesday, Brown is expected to sign legislation (SB 863) that would overhaul the state workers' compensation system (Gardner [2], U-T San Diego, 9/17).

The bill -- by Sens. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) -- would change the formula used to calculate benefits for injured workers, increasing their compensation by an average of 29%.

It also would eliminate benefits for certain health conditions that often are subject to lawsuits, such as psychiatric problems, sexual dysfunction and sleep loss (California Healthline, 9/4).

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