After passing in the state Senate on Wednesday, a bill authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, which mandates follow-up appointments for abnormal breast cancer screenings be covered by insurance, is on its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office — one day after the Glendale City Council pledged its support for the bill.
“While a screening mammogram may be covered, any additional studies needed if the imaging is abnormal or deemed incomplete is not. This creates a heavy burden on the patient, both emotionally and financially when they must pay out of pocket for added studies,” Dr. Laura Sirott, an OB-GYN, said in a press release about Senate Bill 257.
The motion that Council passed to support SB 257 also included four other women-centric bills recommended by the city’s Commission on the Status of Women. Among these was Assembly Bill 1432, authored by Glendale Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, which is also awaiting final sign off from Newsom.
Craig Pulsipher, the legislative director at Equality California, which co-sponsored the bill, explained the goal of AB 1432 during the public comment section of the Sept. 12 City Council meeting.
“AB 1432 is intended to ensure all Californians have access to reproductive health care and gender-affirming care,” he said. “The bill will do this by requiring all out-of-state health insurance policies to provide coverage to California residents to comply with our existing laws that require coverage for these services.”
While the Council’s motion was originally drafted to have Councilmembers vote on supporting all bills unilaterally, Councilman Ara Najarian requested AB 1432 be voted on separately, saying he did not want to weigh in on a bill with such “hot button” topics.
Councilmembers Paula Devine and Elen Asatryan were quick to point out that the bill is not a debate on abortion or gender-affirming care, but rather a requirement that health insurance companies abide by existing state law that mandates these services be provided to Californians.
“While I may respect our differences in opinion on issues like abortion, I don’t want this to be turned into some ‘hot button’ issue because that’s not what this is,” Asatryan said before thanking Carrillo for introducing the bill.
Another bill supported by the City Council with its motion is AB 1015, which has passed in the state assembly and senate. This bill would require the Department of Social Services to create a program that would provide diapers and wipes to low-income families with babies and toddlers.
Public commenter Mike Borisov spoke in favor of this bill referencing the work he has witnessed at the Glendale Community College’s Center for Assistance, Resources and Educational Success. Borisov said this program provides those in need with various household items.
“You’d be surprised how much that actually helped families,” he said. “I didn’t know that toothpaste or soap or shampoo could really make or break a family’s budget. AB 1015 will help save hundreds of dollars per year for families.”
Lastly, the Council pledged its support for AB 1203, which would remove state sales tax from breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies, and AB 246, which calls for menstrual products to have certificates stating the products do not contain harmful chemicals. Both of these bills have passed in the senate and assembly.
First published in the September 16 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.