California Legislature Quietly Votes to Rescind Its Doctor COVID “Misinformation” Law After a Year

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It appears that California’s horrific “Doctor Misinformation” law, AB 2098, is being removed from the annals. This was done quietly, almost in the dead of night, which is how the California Legislature often likes to do things.

Not really secret… more surreptitious. SB 815 author Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside) decided that the state’s medical board practices needed to be addressed.

Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) historic reform legislation, SB 815 passed the State Senate Wednesday, 32-1.  Roth’s landmark bill revises the State’s Medical Practices Act’s cumbersome processes, empowering patients, adding transparency and sunlight to the Medical Board of California’s (Board) physician oversight and disciplinary process and guaranteeing fiscal solvency.

“This legislation is all about protecting patients, lifting up consumers and making sure that the State´s watchdog actually has teeth,” said Roth. “SB 815 improves physician oversight, which is not only important for patients, it is critical for the overwhelming majority of dedicated physicians who are upstanding and play by the rules.”

But here’s the sneaky part. In a very simple (what a concept) clause inserted in the bill, it unraveled AB 2098, rendering it null and void.

Tucked into a state Senate bill revising aspects of the Medical Board of California is a brief but unambiguous clause undoing a controversial law that was intended to curb “dissemination of misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19.”

If the bill passes as expected this week, it will put an end to the saga of Assembly Bill 2098, a well-intentioned, poorly worded and ultimately doomed effort to curb the most flagrant cases of COVID-related falsehoods by people wielding medical licenses.

“We are happy that the Legislature is attempting to address the defects in last year’s legislation,” said Chessie Thacher, a senior attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, which filed amicus briefs in four separate lawsuits related to AB 2098. “As we argued in court, that bill was dangerously overbroad and confusing.”

AB 2098 applied to conversations between patients and their doctors about the patient’s care.

“When someone blatantly provides misinformation, totally inaccurate information — especially with intention — that harms patients,” then-Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), a pediatrician and co-author of the measure, said in October. “That takes away the patient’s ability to make appropriate decisions.”

AB 2098 caused quite a stir while it was on the legislative floor in 2022 and when it was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Once signed into law, the lawsuits were filed; even the ACLU got in on the game.

Fortunately, a judge issued a temporary injunction pending the legal challenges being heard. When Newsom signs SB 815 into law (and why wouldn’t he), it will be the resolution of all this, and doctors in California will be off the chopping block… for now. AB 2098 was one of the worst laws passed during the pandemic era. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment and once the lawsuits wend their way through the courts, CaLeg knew the law would be deemed unconstitutional. The Super Majority is simply throwing Newsom a bone and helping him to save face, especially with his White House perspirations aspirations.

It’s been an embarrassment of riches of late concerning Newsom’s “governance” and grandstanding. Newsom tried to do a mea culpa in POLITICO in terms of his handling of the COVID pandemic in the state and was ratioed into next week with receipts from former residents who left the state because of his overreach, and the parents whose children were casualties of Newsom’s hubris. This epic thread by Dr. Houman David Hemmati is a literal pie in the face for Newsom. Click to read the laying out of receipts on Newsom’s poor choices and how he will not be given a pass.

Now one of his signature issues, to have all electric cars in California by 2035, has been stopped in its tracks by Congress, helped along by eight members of Newsom’s party.

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