Skip to main content

Assemblymember Zbur Introduces Three Bills to Improve California's Social Safety Network

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA — Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood) has introduced three bills that enhance the social safety net for Californians facing illness, disability, and food insecurity. The Jacqueline Marie Zbur Rare Disease Advisory Council bill, named after Assemblymember Zbur's late sister, aims to create a Rare Disease Advisory Council (RDAC) in California, comprised of experts and stakeholders across the rare disease community, to serve as an advisory body to the legislature to develop policy recommendations. The CalFresh for Board & Care Facilities bill, once amended, will aim to require the study of at-risk board and care facilities, which often house people experiencing mental health issues and who would otherwise become unhoused, to determine both the impact of extending CalFresh benefits to its residents as well as the associated costs to the state of California. The Eliminating Barriers to In-Home Supportive Services Employment bill aims to place the financial burden of a mandatory criminal background check on government agencies overseeing employment and away from job applicants who are often low-wage workers.

"There are serious gaps in California's social safety net that must be fixed," said Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur. "I've witnessed some of these firsthand after my sister Jacqueline Marie was diagnosed with ALS. For three years, until her death, I saw her face obstacle after obstacle to get the care she so desperately needed. And I know she's not the only one. These bills - AB 2613, AB 2650, and AB 2704 - are a small step towards better policy and care for people with rare diseases, and offer much-needed help for the board and care facilities that often stand as a last resort against homelessness, and eliminate a fee that stands in the way of job opportunities for caregiver and critical in-home help those who need it."

The bills in this package include:

AB 2613: Jacqueline Marie Zbur Rare Disease Advisory Council

Rare disease patients face unique challenges every day, from obtaining an accurate diagnosis and accessing medical specialists with knowledge of their condition to battling for access to quality care and therapies and receiving fair insurance coverage for their treatment and care. With over 7,000 rare diseases affecting 1-in-10 Californians, it is difficult for state policymakers and government officials to have an in-depth understanding of the issues faced by rare disease community members, and the resources needed to support them. AB 2613 will create a Rare Disease Advisory Council (RDAC) in California, serving as a vital platform to amplify the voices of millions of Californians grappling with rare diseases. This council would engage with the Medi-Cal Drug Use Review Board, make recommendations for the improvement of Medi-Cal and state-regulated private health insurance, and identify areas of unmet need for research and opportunities for collaboration with stakeholders and RDACs in other states that can inform future RDAC work. This bill would also require the RDAC to submit a report of their work to the legislature.
Sponsors: National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

AB 2650: CalFresh for Board & Care Facilities

Board and care facilities, which are often at risk of closure due to financial burden and very low government funding rates, provide services to some of California's most vulnerable populations, including people experiencing mental health crises. Without these facilities, its residents would lose shelter and access to regular meals, leading to homelessness and hunger. Currently, residents of board and care facilities in the state of California do not qualify for Calfresh Benefits. AB 2650 would require the study of board and care facilities experiencing financial distress to determine if CalFresh benefits could stem the increasing closure of these facilities due to inadequate funding, and to determine the estimated cost of CalFresh benefits to the state of California. Maintaining and growing board and care facilities is a key part of an effective strategy to address homelessness in our communities.
Sponsors: Licensed Adult Residential Care Association (LARCA)

AB 2704: Eliminating Barriers to In-Home Supportive Services Employment

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers, including registry providers, play a crucial role in supporting home-bound aged, blind, and disabled individuals in California. The current law, Section 12305.86 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, mandates providers to pay for their criminal background checks, creating an inequitable burden on low-income workers. These background checks can amount to as much as $75, the equivalent of working 4 -6 hours as an IHSS worker for free. AB 2704 proposed an amendment to the Welfare and Institutions Code to shift the responsibility of covering criminal background check costs to the county and away from job applicants.
Sponsors: United Domestic Workers/The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3930

Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur serves as the Democratic Caucus Chair for the California State Assembly and represents the 51st Assembly District, which includes Universal City, Hollywood, Hancock Park, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and other portions of Los Angeles.

CONTACT: Vienna Montague, (916) 319-2051,