MOORLACH UPDATE — Play Ball — August 25, 2015

We’re in the final three weeks of the Session. And there are two Special Sessions. The LA Daily News and the LA Daily Breeze point out that the bills proposed for the Senate’s Public Health and Developmental Services Committee (Special Session 2) seem to be experiencing an obvious bias. Their editorial piece is the first below.

The second piece is from the Associated Press and has hit a number of fine media outlets. You don’t have to be a serious sports fan to be familiar with Tony Gwynn and his early demise, attributed to baseball’s dirty habit, chewing tobacco. Fortunately, the Major League Baseball teams in California have responded with appropriate policy changes. So, making it a law seemed like an overstep. It is even an infringement over personal liberties. If you’re not concerned about the potential cancerous effects of tobacco on your body, who is Sacramento to tell you how to conduct your personal business?

Giving you something less to chew on made it to the San Francisco Chronicle, FOX News – Channel 11 – Los Angeles, ABC News – Channel 7 – Sacramento, Capital Public Radio, and The Washington Times

Since we’re talking baseball, the annual softball game of Republicans versus Democrats is this evening. I’ll be playing, so keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

LA Daily News

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All developmental funding bills — even Republicans’ — should get a fair shot: Editorial

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It surely looks as though partisanship is getting in the way of the state’s commitment to take care of its most vulnerable citizens.

We’d like to think that observation is mistaken, but so far all the signs are there.

While bills introduced by Democrats are sailing through the state Senate’s special session on health care and developmental services, a couple of GOP bills are languishing in inattention. In fact, they’re not yet even scheduled to be heard.

And one of those Republican bills offers the best hope for a quick, desperately needed boost in funding for developmental services. It’s the only bill that offers any hope for relief this year, in fact.

Senate Bill X2-4, by Sens. Jim Nielson, R-El Dorado, and Jeff Stone, R-Murrieta, directs that any state revenues above the amount projected in the state budget go to fund Medi-Cal and developmental services — after allocation of the amount required for schools under Proposition 98 and for the rainy-day fund under Prop. 2, of course.

And extra revenue has been flooding into the state treasury — $66 million more than was projected in July, the first month of the new fiscal year, according to the California Department of Finance.

SB X2-4 is a perfectly logical way to come up with some quick funding to prevent further deterioration in the hard-pressed developmental services system. It doesn’t take any budgeted funding away from any other area. It is only “extra” money that would be applied to these serious needs.

SB X2-11, by Stone, allocates any money saved by closing developmental centers to developmental services. There’s not much to argue against in that — other than that it won’t help until sometime next year.

And yet …

The bills are not yet even scheduled for their second readings before the Senate’s Public Health and Developmental Services Committee, according to the offices of the sponsors and Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, chair of the committee.

Why not?

Last Wednesday five bills, all dealing with smoking and sponsored by Democrats, sailed through the health and developmental committee on party-line votes. On Monday, two bills by Hernandez and one by fellow Democrat Mike McGuire were to have their third readings, making them ready to be voted on.

The bills by Hernandez state the Legislature’s intent to properly fund Medi-Cal and developmental services. But they don’t come with any money.

SB X2-4 does.

We call upon Hernandez, an optometrist whose highest priority is health care, to bring SB X2-4 and SB X2-11 before his committee.

The bills would pass the body, we’re confident. SB X2-4, for example, is co-authored by all four Republicans on the committee — Sens. Nielsen, Joel Anderson, Mike Morrell and John Moorlach — so it would need ayes from just three of the nine Democrats.

Surely Hernandez would vote for it. So should Democratic Sens. Jim Beall, Isadore Hall, McGuire and Lois Wolk — each of whom signed Beall’s February letter in support of the Lanterman Coalition’s plea for a quick 10 percent funding hike and a sustainable restructuring of rates. (The Democrats on the committee who didn’t sign Beall’s letter, besides Hernandez, are Mark Leno, Holly Mitchell, Bill Monning and Richard Pan.)

If they don’t vote for it, we — on behalf of their constituents — will want to know why.

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California could ban smokeless tobacco in pro baseball

California lawmakers are voting to ban a once-common practice in Major League Baseball, the use of chewing tobacco.

The state Senate on Monday approved a bill prohibiting the use or possession of smokeless tobacco products on the playing field during a professional baseball game or practice.

Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa says professional baseball already voluntarily bans the product.

Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco says AB768 puts a good practice into California law.

The measure passed 24-14.

Senators also approved prohibiting the sale of vapor products to anyone under age 18, even if they don’t contain nicotine.

Democratic Sen. Ed Hernandez of La Puente says vendors often target younger customers with candy-flavored vapors. The Senate passed AB216 on 35-2.

Both bills return to the Assembly.

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This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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