Familiar and new bills before state Legislature

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Daylight saving and single-payer health insurance on agenda

Contemporary culture is infatuated with beings impossible to kill or exterminate. Vampires and zombies are at the top of the list. But some state legislation mirrors this cultural fascination. However, some supporters might prefer to praise the legislator for being persistent and dedicated to the better good.

Last year, Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D – San José) sponsored a bill to allow state voters to decide whether to retain Daylight Saving Time. While it failed to pass the Assembly, he has now submitted Assembly Bill 807, which asks voters to repeal the 1949 initiative authorizing DST in California.

If the initiative is repealed, the bill establishes DST from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

However, the Legislature would have authority to control the date and timing, and whether the state would adopt DST in the future.

The bills states, “The Legislature may amend this section by a majority vote to either change the dates and times of the daylight saving time period, consistent with federal law, or to remain on standard time on a year-round basis.”

AB 807 may be considered in committee as early as March 18.

Health care

Since the beginning of January, the U.S. Congress has been grappling with the Affordable Care Act. Republicans certainly prefer to repeal it, but many also want to replace the ACA with new legislation.

The pace and result are unknown, and will be for weeks or months.

But two California state senators — Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Sen. Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) —  have submitted legislation to replace it with a single-payer system. The current Covered California program reports that the number of uninsured state residents is at an all-time low.

The language of Senate Bill 562 is currently vague, but the authors’ intent to authorize a state single-payer health system is clear and details will be developed over the next few months.

“Access to affordable and quality health care is not only critical, it should be a right for everyone in California. In light of threats to the Affordable Care Act, it’s important that we look at all options to maintain and expand access to health care. The Healthy California Act is an essential part of that conversation,” said Sen. Atkins in the press release announcing the proposed legislation.

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