The grassroots lobby effort to advance AB 279 scored another victory on Thursday, July 15, with a 6-0 bipartisan vote in the California Senate Standing Committee on appropriations.
Significantly, the Appropriations Committee dismissed the falsehoods being promoted by the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF) and the CA Department of Public Health that AB 279 would cause significant fiscal burden on the state and private operators. Assemblymember Al Murtasuchi correctly pointed out that private operators would suffer no damage to their current revenue streams as residents will continue to pay their rent and that there are no known existing bankruptcy cases requiring assistance from the State to process.
Now, we look forward to securing a date for a Senate floor vote. A two-thirds vote (27 votes) in the Senate would deliver AB 279 to the Governor’s desk for signing into law. Assuming that the 10 votes from the Senate Committee on Health and 6 votes from the Appropriations Committee hold up as “Aye” votes on the Senate floor, WE NEED 11 MORE AYE VOTES. We now seek a floor vote immediately upon the reconvening of the Senate after Summer Recess.
The CA Senate currently consists of 31 Democrats and 9 Republicans. Again, we need 27 votes to send the bill to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.
What can you do to help win AB 279 and stop pandemic evictions of seniors in CA?
We can take advantage of the summer recess to begin contacting our Senators who should be working in their respective districts. We should begin preparing our letters of support for AB 279 in anticipation of an August Senate floor vote.
SOS Network will be working to set up meetings with the Legislative staffers of the Senators, but nothing replaces lobby efforts from actual constituent members from their Districts.
SOS will also be holding letter-signing events to get constituents to sign off on AB 279 support letters to be sent to their respective Senators. Be on the lookout for announcement of these events. We’ll definitely have a table at our August 7 Kansha Obon II event and are planning one in Costa Mesa at the Mitsuwa market there.
Sample email or letter content HERE or below:
California Senate District ______
State Capitol, Room _____
Sacramento, CA. 95814
RE: AB 279 (Muratsuchi) – SUPPORT
July ______, 2021
I am writing you with an urgent request to vote “AYE” on AB 279. AB 279, is needed to protect vulnerable seniors in long-term care settings from involuntary, non-medically-necessary transfers for the remainder of the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
This is a statewide issue, and I send this email accordingly as a registered voter and California constituent. California Department of Public Health (CDPH) records shows more than 200 citations relating to improper discharges from elder care facilities across California thus far during the pandemic. The current potential for Delta variant spiking is also of looming concern.
Addressing a statewide crisis, AB 279 prohibits intermediate care and skilled nursing facilities, except in the case of bankruptcy, from transferring, terminating, or significantly changing residential care services during the emergency period. On June 23, a 10-0 bipartisan vote in the Senate Committee on Health confirmed the urgency and necessity of this legislation’s advance. A bipartisan vote of 6-0 in the Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations confirmed that AB 279 poses negligible fiscal burden on the State.
To make the practicality and urgent necessity of this bill more clear, consider this example: Currently, if a family has a loved one who is discharged, it is extremely difficult to conduct in-person research of alternative transfer facilities as most are still not open to the public for visitation due to pandemic visitation restrictions.
Simply put, improper transfers at this time endanger lives and put unnecessary stresses on California families reliant upon senior care facilities to care for loved ones. The Senate needs to vote on this bill to protect California seniors.
Seniors have already been suffering disproportionate numbers of deaths as a result of COVID-19, and with mutation variants in circulation and some sectors of the population at less than 40% vaccination rates, the urgency cannot be overstated.
Please vote “AYE” on AB 279 to advance this bill to the Governor’s desk for signing into law.
Thank you for your service.
(Address and Zip Code)
Letters should go directly to the Senators. We encourage people to start preparing these letters, but it may be prudent to time their delivery once we secure a floor vote. Find your California Senator HERE: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
SOS Network will be out on the streets to get AB 279 support letters signed for delivery to Senators. Please contact us at email@example.com if you can join this effort!
As we calculate priority target Senator votes and identify their Legislative staff, we will be updating the SOS website accordingly. Please revisit this page soon!