AB 483 (Muratsuchi and Wood) – Local Education Agency: Medi-Cal Billing Option
Co-sponsors: California Association of School Psychologists, California County Superintendents, California School Boards Association, Los Angeles Unified School District, Santa Clara County Office of Education
AB 483 provides reforms to the process by which the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) audits claims made by schools under the Medi-Cal Local Educational Agency Billing Option Program (LEA BOP) to increase access to school-based health and mental health services by students.
AB 483 was signed into law on October 8th, 2023.
AB 599 (Ward) – Suspensions and Expulsions: Controlled Substances
Co-sponsors: California Alliance of Child and Family Services, Children Now, and California Youth Empowerment Network
AB 599 would, commencing July 1, 2025, remove having possessed or used tobacco, or products containing tobacco or nicotine products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, miniature cigars, clove cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chew packets, vaping products, and betel from the list of acts for which a pupil, regardless of their grade of enrollment, may be suspended or recommended for expulsion for. The bill would, commencing July 1, 2025, prohibit a charter school pupil in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, from being suspended or recommended for expulsion solely on the basis of those acts.
AB 599 was held back in the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 1st, 2023. This bill may be acted upon in January 2024.
AB 665 (Carrillo) – Medi-Cal Minor Consent Working Group
Co-sponsors: California Alliance of Child and Family Services, Cal Voices, GenerationUp, National Center for Youth Law, National Health Law Program, The California Children’s Partnership, and The California Children’s Trust
AB 655 aligns the standards of mental health care consent for all young people in the state. It allows all young people ages 12 and older to consent to their own mental health treatment, while still allowing providers, after consulting with the youth, to work with the youth’s parent(s). The bill would no longer require youth on Medi-Cal to meet a higher standard of need than their higher-income peers by eliminating the requirement that young people on Medi-Cal be in imminent danger of self-harm or the victim of child abuse in order for the Medi-Cal plan to pay for minor consent services.
AB 665 was signed into law on October 7th, 2023.
SB 282 (Eggman) – Medi-Cal: Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics
SB 282 updates the state’s Medi-Cal code to allow FQHCs and RHCs to bill Medi-Cal for two visits if a patient is provided mental health services on the same day they receive other medical services.
SB 282 was held back in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on September 1st, 2023. This bill may be acted upon in January 2024.
SB 509 (Portantino) – Youth Mental and Behavioral Health Education
Co-sponsor: Common Sense Media
SB 509 requires the California Department of Education to ensure that 75 percent of classified and certificated employees on school campuses complete an evidence-based behavioral health training program. This instruction will guide school staff on how to provide referrals to mental health services, substance use disorder services, or other support to individuals in the early stages of developing a mental illness or substance use disorder.
SB 509 was vetoed by the Governor on October 13th, 2023.
SB 274 (Skinner) – Suspensions and Expulsions: Willful Defiance
SB 274 removes disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties from the list of acts for which a pupil, regardless of their grade of enrollment, may be suspended or recommended for expulsion. The bill would extend the prohibition against the suspension of charter school pupils for those acts to all grades, indefinitely.
SB 274 was signed into law on October 8th, 2023.
SB 238 (Wiener) – Health Care Coverage: Independent Medical Review
Co-sponsor: Children Now
SB 238 removes barriers to youth accessing mental health treatments by requiring that any mental health treatment denials made by private insurance companies be automatically referred to the state’s existing Independent Medical Review (IMR) process. According to reports from the DMHC call center, approximately 94% of IMRs between 2020-2022 were filed in English and 3.87% were filed in Spanish. These statistics are not reflective of the state’s population, suggesting that those who do not speak English are having trouble accessing the process to review health plan denials.
SB 238 was held back in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on September 1st, 2023. This bill may be acted upon in January 2024.
SB 541 (Menjivar) – Youth Health Equity and Safety Act
Co-sponsors: Generation Up, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Essential Access Health, and URGE
SB 541 supports youth health and well-being, addresses the sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemic among California youth, and improves public health outcomes statewide, by requiring each public school to make condoms available to all pupils free of charge. The bill would require each public school to allow the distribution of condoms during the course of, or in connection to, educational or public health programs and initiatives, as provided.
SB 541 was vetoed by the Governor on October 8th, 2023.