As Lawmakers Reconvene, Not Everyone Agrees On COVID-Only Agenda

May 04, 2020

California Healthline
By Samantha Young

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to begin what they describe as necessary but painful negotiations to keep the state running and redirect dwindling funds to the costly coronavirus pandemic.

Leaders of the state Senate and Assembly have asked them to pursue only COVID-related or “essential” bills...

But some lawmakers say they intend to advocate for issues that aren’t directly related to the crisis, issues that in some cases have been debated in the legislature for years.

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) wants to ban retail sales of flavored tobacco products, which are popular with young people. He hopes his bill will resonate with his colleagues, noting the World Health Organization has linked smoking to COVID-19.

“They’ve sounded the alarm that persons, if they use tobacco, if they smoke, if they vape, they’re at risk of suffering the worst and most deadly symptoms of COVID-19,” Hill said. “To me, that’s significantly important in moving this legislation forward.”