Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead


Pandemic Response Legislation Passes Key Committee

On April 20,  the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions approved AB 691, authored by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D–Monterey Park), which would make permanent authorization for certified optometrists to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted all of our lives and we need to do everything possible to put an end to it,” said Assemblymember Ed Chau. “By permanently recruiting healthcare professionals, like certified optometrist, to our life-saving mission, we place ourselves in a better position to combat and halt the spread of this deadly virus.”

In an effort to quickly administer COVID-19 vaccines to 40 million Californians, the California Department of Consumer Affairs recently authorized a waiver that allows certified optometrists to administer COVID-19 vaccines to persons 16 years of age or older, including epinephrine or diphenhydramine by injection for the treatment of a severe allergic reaction. The waiver is expected to stand during the declared state of emergency, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislation is needed to make this authorization permanent, especially as optometrists undergo vaccine training, required by the wavier, and most experts expect the need for ongoing booster shots.

Specifically, this bill, among other things, adds COVID-19 to the list of immunizations a qualified optometrist is authorized to administer, provides that performing a clinical laboratory test or examination necessary to detect the presence of COVID-19 is within the scope of practice of an optometrist, and makes this law take effect immediately to protect public health and preserve the future health care workforce by ensuring that qualified optometrists can assist to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Legislation to increase hate crime penalties Passes Committee

On April 28, the Assembly Committee on Public Safety approved AB 28, authored by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D–Monterey Park), which would increase the fines for hate crime to fund programs on racial or ethnic sensitivity, or other similar training in the area of civil rights.

“AAPI Community members in my district, and across the state, have been the targets of assault, harassment, and vandalism at the hands of people motivated by hate,” said Assemblymember Ed Chau. “It is therefore important that we strengthen state law by increasing criminal fines against those committing these horrendous acts and using those funds for programs to educate and increase tolerance.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have risen significantly across the country. In fact, the sixteen largest cities nationwide saw an increase in hate crimes of 150% between 2019 and 2020.  According to the Stop AAPI Hate coalition, nearly 3,800 hate incidents occurred across the United States against the AAPI community between March 2020 and February 2021, including nearly 1,700 incidents in California. This is partly attributed to the use of terms, like “China Virus” and “Kung Flu” to describe COVID-19, which have resulted in acts of violence and racism against Asian Americans.

Specifically, AB 28 increases the fines for a misdemeanor or felony hate crime by $2,500 each, raising them to $7,500 and $12,500 respectively. It would also require up to $2,500 of any fines received to be placed in the Trial Court Trust Fund to fund classes or programs on racial or ethnic sensitivity, or other similar training in the area of civil rights.

Assemblymember Ed Chau represents the 49th Assembly District, comprised of the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City and portions of Montebello, and South El Monte.

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