Tampon labels, hypodermic needles: A guide to new California health care laws
Among the many bills signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week, several are aimed at improving health care and consumer protection.
Some will affect consumers of feminine products while others impact low-income individuals, domestic workers, seniors and people with disabilities.
Newsom announced Sept. 29 that he signed 35 Assembly Bills and 15 Senate Bills into law. He vetoed 18 bills.
Here's a breakdown of new health care-related legislation:
Tampon labels now have requirements
Thanks to the signing of Assembly Bill 1989, authored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, the state will require ingredient information, including weight, on packages of menstrual productsstarting in 2023.
Sales of menstrual products will be prohibited in the state unless the product and manufacturer comply with labeling requirements.
"Periods are not a luxury," Garcia wrote in a tweet, "and we should have the knowledge to make safe choices."
Needles can be sold sans prescription
Assembly Bill 2077 by Assemblymember Philip Ting, D-San Francisco, repeals an existing law that requires a prescription from a physician, dentist, veterinarian, podiatrist or naturopathic doctor in order to purchase hypodermic needles or syringes at retail locations.
People over the age of 18 were able to get these products without a prescription and for personal use from a physician or pharmacist until Jan. 1, 2021. The new law extends that date until Jan. 1, 2026.
It also repeals provisions that made it a misdemeanor to obtain a hypodermic needle or hypodermic syringe by the use of fraud, to get one from someone else who has been issued one, or to use it for any purpose than what it was obtained for.
More protections for domestic workers
Domestic workers are now legally protected from retaliation if they choose to refuse orders from a boss that would require them to stay in or enter a mandatory evacuation area due to wildfires or a public health order, including restrictions related to COVID-19.
Assembly Bill 2658, authored by Assemblymember Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, makes it a crime to knowingly direct an employee to remain in or go into an area that is lawfully closed.
“I am also grateful that Governor Newsom has taken this action for our domestic workers who were afraid of losing their jobs during these disaster situations, like wildfires, and instead risked their health and safety,” California Insurance Commissioner said in a statement last week. “Now domestic workers have greater protection from employer retaliation so they are not put in a dangerous situation."
Seniors receive transitional support
Senate Bill 214 allows low-income seniors and people with disabilities to receive support in transitioning from a skilled nursing facility to receiving care in their homes.
It also allows for the expansion of California Community Transitions, which, since 2007, has transitioned 3,629 people from institutional settings.
“Protecting our most vulnerable, especially during the pandemic, is absolutely essential,” Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, said in a recent press release.
His bill will do that, he said, "by allowing people to stay in their own homes and avoid potential exposure."
The new law, which Dodd said saves taxpayer money, is aimed at addressing public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes.
The bill was co-sponsored by Disability Rights California and East Bay Innovations.
Maria Sestito covers aging and the senior population in Coachella Valley for The Desert Sun. She is also a Report for America corps member and new to the desert. Please say "hello" via email@example.com or @RiaSestito.