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Caregiving Bills in the California 2023 Legislative Cycle-Wins and Disappointments

November 7, 2023

October 14th was the last day for California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, to sign or veto bills. According to CalMatters“Newsom signed 890 bills this year—85% of the 1,046 measures that made it to his desk.”

One key win for family caregivers was the passing of SB 616 (Gonzalez). SB 616, Paid Sick Days, expands the minimum number of paid sick days in California from 3 to 5 days. This means that all California employees, including working family caregivers, and In Home Support Service workers, will earn a minimum of five paid sick days a year starting January 1, 2024. These sick days can be used when a caregiver or care recipient is ill or injured, or for either to seek medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care.

Among the other bills that passed this year that affect family caregivers and those in their care, as well as older adults in general, are the following:

  • SB 311 Medi-Cal Part A buy-in (Eggman)
    Effective no later than January 2025, CA will be a Part A Buy-In state and simplify enrollment into premium Part A and the Qualified Medicare Savings Program at any time of the year. This change will help many individuals, but especially women and immigrants who do not have the work credits for free Part A.
  • SB 525 (Durazo) Minimum wage: health care workers
    Creates a tiered phase-in of a $25/hour minimum wage for health care workers, including caregivers working in licensed skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly, and home health agencies.
  • AB 48 Nursing Facility Resident Informed Consent Protection Act (Aguiar-Curry)
    Creates the Nursing Facility Resident Informed Consent Protection Act of 2023 which requires a prescriber, prior to prescribing a psychotherapeutic drug for a resident of a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility, to personally examine and obtain the informed written consent of the resident or the resident’s representative.
  • AB 1309 Long-Term health care facilities: admission contracts (Reyes)
    Requires nursing homes, within 48 hours of giving a required written notice of an involuntary transfer or discharge, to provide the resident with a copy of discharge related documents, including a description of specific needs that cannot be met and the facility’s attempts to meet those needs when the basis of the transfer or discharge is because the resident’s needs cannot be met in the facility.
  • AB 1417 Elder and dependent adult abuse: mandated reporting (Wood)
    Requires mandated reporters to follow a single, simplified, and timely reporting process and ensure that criminal acts are reported to law enforcement first.
  • AB 386 California Right to Financial Privacy Act (Nguyen)
    Improves financial abuse investigations by extending the time frame of accessible records from 30 days prior and 30 days following the alleged illegal act to 90 days prior and 60 after, which allows a thorough investigation to identify normal spending habits of the alleged victim. This bill also expands the information Adult Protective Services (APS) can receive to identify potentially critical evidence to uncover financial abuse. This includes: (1) new bank cards issued, (2) change of address requests, (3) and power of attorney.
  • AB 979 Long Term Care: Family Councils (Alvarez)
    Modernizes existing family council laws, so that members can meet and communicate electronically and continue to operate during a public health emergency. The bill also ensures that facilities will be more responsive to concerns raised by family councils, discourages operators from undermining family council activities, and clarifies that control of the family council membership and participation in meetings lies with the family council itself.
  • SB 544 Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act: Teleconferencing (Laird)
    Allows state bodies to hold meetings by teleconference with a member’s remote participation if a member has a need related to a disability.

Vetoed or Two-Year Bills

Californians will have to wait longer for amendments to Paid Family Leave to make it more accessible for chosen or extended family (AB 518), or available to multiple family members at a time (AB 575).

  • AB 575 (Papan) Governor veto message
  • AB 518 (Wicks) was held as a two-year bill, meaning it will be continued in the 2024 legislative session

Governor Newsom also vetoed AB 524-Wicks which would have addressed caregiver discrimination in the workplace.

2023 was also a tough year for California Alzheimer’s legislation. For a variety of reasons, none of the proposed Alzheimer’s bills made it into law, with several bills stalled in the fiscal committee.

Questions? Email Jenna at jshankman@caregiver.org