Government Affairs Update
By: Randolph P Holmes MD, FAAFP, DFASAM, Government Affairs Committee Chair
The legislative session has now concluded here in California and Governor Newsom has either signed or vetoed all bills presented before him. CSAM’s Government Affairs Committee worked diligently to vet and review all the bills relevant to Substance Use Disorders/Addictions care. Two bills CSAM supported were signed into law:
- SB 326 & AB 351, both authorize a bond initiative to fund improvement of the mental health and SUD treatment system
- SB 872 authorizes mobile pharmacies to dispense medication for SUD’s
There were several fentanyl bills that were signed (and many that were not). One bill we supported and was signed was:
- AB 33 will create a fentanyl task force that has a representative of CSAM serving; another bill will create an overdose reporting system.
There were five (5) naloxone bills but only one was signed:
- SB 234 which requires Stadiums, concert venues and Amusement Parks to provide naloxone was signed.
- SB 461 was amended to require Community colleges and CSUs to provide fentanyl test strips.
There were a number of bills that CSAM opposed that were vetoed:
- SB 58 was one of these bills which would have legalized hallucinogens.
CSAM also supported a number of bills that were vetoed:
- AB 1288 and AB 1060, bills to drop Prior Authorization requirement by private insurers for medication to treat SUD’s and emergency mental health/SUD care but these were vetoed;
- CSAM supported AB 1207 which would have prohibited cannabis products from being produce in ways to attract children, but it was vetoed
CSAM was neutral of SB 43, which redefines the meaning of gravely disabled, and this bill was signed into law.
Lastly, CSAM continues to be involved in our efforts to re-start a Physician Wellness Program for physicians who experience issues with SUD’s or mental health problems. We are preparing comments on the state’s new proposed rules and regulations.
CSAM’s GA Committee welcomes any CSAM members who are interested in California policy issues to attend our monthly Zoom meeting as a guest. Getting involved with advocacy is a great way to advance treatment opportunities in our communities. We do not yet have our list of bills for the 2024 legislative session, but we expect more movement on fentanyl, naloxone, licensing of outpatient treatment programs, and building capacity for mental health/SUD treatment.