SACRAMENTO – Legislation to ensure health insurance coverage for pediatric hearing aids passed the Senate Health Committee yesterday on a 5-0 vote. The bill, AB 2004, requires health insurance policies and health care service plans to cover hearing aids for enrollees and insured under 18 years of age. In addition to hearing aids, policies and plans would also be required to cover hearing aid services, which include hearing assessments, replacement hearing aids, fittings, maintenance, and auditory training.
“A child’s ability to hear should not be based on their family income,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica). “Here in California, health insurance plans are required to provide pediatric vision and dental coverage for their enrollees, yet no similar requirement exists for hearing aid coverage. It is unfathomable that child can get glasses to see but not a hearing aid to hear. This bill will correct that inequity and ensure that California families can get the hearing aids their children need without facing prohibitive costs.”
Will Place into Law SeaWorld’s Historical Announcement to End Orca Captivity
SAN DIEGO – In response to today’s announcement that SeaWorld will end their orca breeding program and phase out their orca theatrical shows at all theme parks across the country, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) joined SeaWorld San Diego Park President, John Reilly, at a press conference today, announced that he has re-introduced the Orca Protection and Safety Act that will adopt many of the company’s new commitments into law that was first introduced in 2014.
“With today’s announcement by SeaWorld to end orca breeding and phase out their orca shows, I believe that we have resolved a fundamental marine mammal welfare issue. For these reasons, I can now applaud SeaWorld’s forward-looking, humane and market-responsive leadership,” said Bloom. “Consistent with SeaWorld's announcement, I will also be re-introducing legislation that will permanently end orca captive breeding anywhere in California as called for in my original bill from two years ago.”
SANTA MONICA – In response to the announcement today that Sea World intends to scale back orca shows at their San Diego theme park, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who authored legislation last year to end captive breeding and ultimately phase out orca captivity in California, issued the following statement:
“Today’s news that Sea World intends to scale back their orca shows appears to be a step in the right direction. I look forward to hearing more details. However, today’s announcement ignores the critical issues of ending captive breeding and providing for the long term care of the current group of orcas,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom. “As I have said many times, captive breeding must come to an end. Orcas are too socially and ecologically complex to be bred and kept in swimming pool sized habitats that are just one ten-thousandth of the size they need thrive. The science on this is irrefutable and simply ending shows does not change these facts. I hope Sea World intends to address these issues immediately and I look forward to having a continued dialogue with them.”
Richard Bloom chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation. He represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.
Legislation gives California the strongest protections in the country
SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed groundbreaking legislation to ban micro-plastic particle abrasives, commonly referred to as “microbeads,” from being used in products such as facial scrubs, soaps, and toothpaste. The legislation, AB 888, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would set up the strongest protections in the country against the use of these unnecessary and toxic micro-plastic beads.
SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 107, a measure to address the remaining redevelopment agency bond proceeds that have sat idle since the 2011 dissolution of redevelopment. This legislation represents a compromise between the California Legislature and the Department of Finance. The agreement will resolve ongoing issues with the definitions of redevelopment loans and the interest rates that apply them. Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) has authored multiple pieces of legislation to address the fallout from redevelopment’s dissolution and actively participated in the negotiations that led to the successful passage of SB 107. Assemblymember Bloom made the following statement on this historic agreement:
“I applaud Governor Brown for signing this important legislation. I was serving as an elected city official when redevelopment was dissolved and many cities were left with unresolved issues. In some cases, these issues resulted in an inability to break ground on important projects or, worse, litigation. Since being elected to the Legislature in 2012, I have worked diligently with cities and stakeholders throughout the state to resolve these remaining issues,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “The compromise signed by the Governor today will have many positive impacts across the state. Releasing a substantial portion of the redevelopment bond proceeds for their intended projects, including funding for affordable housing and parks, will generate thousands of jobs and create hundreds of millions of dollars in statewide economic activity, as well as millions of dollars in state and local tax revenues."
SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Legislature and the Department of Finance reached an agreement on the remaining redevelopment agency bond proceeds that have sat idle since the dissolution of redevelopment. Furthermore, the agreement will resolve ongoing issues with the definitions of redevelopment loans and the interest rates that apply them. In 2011, facing a severe budget shortfall, the Governor and Legislature dissolved redevelopment agencies and redirected an annual amount of $1.7 billion away from various community development and affordable housing projects. Unfortunately, many redevelopment agencies had already legally issued bonds for local projects and were forced to make debt payments even though they cannot reap the economic benefits of projects stalled by the dissolution. Statewide, approximately $715 million in 2011 redevelopment bond proceeds have sat untouched. Prior to today’s compromise, cities were expected to make debt payments for a decade, costing them nearly $1 billion while not completing a single redevelopment project with these bond proceeds.
Legislation would give California the strongest protections in the country
SACRAMENTO – Legislation to ban micro-plastic particle abrasives, commonly referred to as “microbeads,” from being used in products such as facial scrubs, soaps, and toothpaste was approved by the state Assembly and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The legislation, AB 888, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would set up the strongest protections in the country against the use of these unnecessary and toxic micro-plastic beads.
SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) has announced that Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has reappointed him to the Budget Conference Committee. This will be Assemblymember Bloom’s second year serving on the committee. He will be joined by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore).
“Providing a balanced and responsible Budget is one of the most important functions of the Legislature,” stated Assemblymember Bloom. “In recent years, the Legislature has worked diligently with the Governor to produce budgets that reduced debt and encouraged responsible spending. I look forward to working with my Assembly and Senate colleagues to craft a budget that will promote economic stability and plan for a sustainable future for California.”
SACRAMENTO – Last week, AJR 16, authored by Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia, Richard Bloom and Evan Low, and sponsored by Equality California, was introduced in the State Assembly in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new blood donor guidelines that continue to discriminate against gay and bisexual men. The new proposed guidelines would prohibit blood donation from all sexually active gay and bisexual men. Specifically, all men who have had sex with another man within the past 12 months would be prohibited from donating blood. The resolution calls on President Barack Obama to encourage the Secretary of Health and Human services to direct the FDA to develop science-based guidelines that focus on risk-assessment of individuals instead of discriminatory standards that discriminate against gay and bisexual men.
SACRAMENTO – Legislation that would impose a fee on distributors of sugary drinks and create a dedicated revenue source to address the alarming health impacts of childhood obesity, diabetes and heart disease failed the Assembly Health Committee today by four votes. The Legislation, AB 1357, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and jointly sponsored by the American Heart Association, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and California Dental Association and supported by numerous health advocates around the state, would generate an estimated $3 billion a year to prevent and treat obesity, diabetes, heart and dental disease. Currently, California does not allocate any state funds towards the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
“I am disappointed that the committee failed to act today on one of the biggest health crises facing our nation,” said Bloom. “Diabetes is now the seventh largest cause of death in the nation. If current trends aren’t reversed, one-in-three children born after 2000—and specifically one-in-two African-American or Hispanic children—are expected to develop type 2 diabetes. The overwhelming view of health experts is that the single most significant cause of obesity and diabetes is overconsumption of sugar.”