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San Diego assembly member proposes new law to prevent another Hep-A type outbreak

Posted at 1:28 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 16:36:47-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Assembly Member Todd Gloria and other local democratic leaders gathered at the State Building downtown Friday to presented Assembly Bill 262.

Gloria coauthored the bill in response to a December state audit which uncovered shortcomings in the local government response to the Hepatitis A outbreak of 2017-18.

AB-262 seeks to require health officers to promptly notify local governments of a disease outbreak and empower them to direct governments to take action against it.

RELATED: California audit blasts city and county of San Diego for response to hepatitis A outbreak

Gloria suggested the bill would remedy the temptation to not look the other way because an outbreak is impacting a stigmatized population like the homeless.

"You fiddle with your car radio until the light changes," said Gloria. "Because you just don't want to look at the panhandler. That same approach was in evident in the hepatitis outbreak. And that can no longer be the case."

Backers of AB-262 say the bill would apply to any infectious outbreak that may happen.

TIMELINE: Key events during hep A outbreak in San Diego

Gloria said if AB-262 had been in place before the Hepatitis A outbreak it would have saved lives.

"To the extent that this bill corrects this problem and say very clearly that those folks who passed away did not die in vane, that's the intent of what we're doing here," Gloria said.

Gloria hopes to have the bill passed by the end of the year.