Assembly Bill 1301 (Fazio – 1978)
Chapter 130, Statutes of 1978, AB 1301
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Various sections of the Health and Safety Code relating to emergency medical services were amended or enacted in 1978 following passage of Assembly Bill 1301. (See Exhibit #1i) Assembly member Vic Fazio introduced the legislation on March 31, 1977 at the request of the California Chapter of American College of Emergency Physicians. (See Exhibits #1a and #19, document PE‑1)
The Assembly Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Judiciary considered the policy issues raised by the bill. (See Exhibits #2, #3 and #9) The Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance examined the fiscal ramifications of Assembly Bill 1301. (See Exhibits #2 and #5) The Assembly amended the bill on April 26, May 12, and June 10, 1977. (See Exhibits #1b through #1d and #2)
Amendments to Assembly Bill 1301 occurred in the Senate on August 5, August 16, and August 26, 1977. (See Exhibits #1e through #1g and #2) When the bill was returned to the Assembly, the Senate’s amendments were reviewed and rejected. Consequently, Assembly Bill 1301 was assigned to a Conference Committee. (See Exhibit #2) The purpose of a Conference Committee is to bring together six legislators, three from each House, in an attempt to reach a compromise on a bill's language that is acceptable to both Houses.
The bill stalled in the Conference Committee because of opposition by the California Trial Lawyers Association. (See generally, Exhibit #16) When the Legislature returned in 1978, the Trial Lawyers' opposition was evidently overcome and the Conference Committee’s amendments were accepted by both Houses. (See Exhibits #1h and #2) Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., agreed to allow the bill to become law without his signature after a commitment from the author to amend the law in follow‑up legislation to “clarify definitions and limit to three years duration the section providing that only emergency physicians may qualify as expert witnesses.” (See Exhibit #16, documents A‑69, A‑71 and A‑72) Assembly Bill 1301 was chaptered by the Secretary of State on May 11th as Chapter 130 of the Statutes of 1978. (See Exhibit #1i and #2)
An Enrolled Bill Memorandum analysis of Assembly Bill 1301 as last amended provided the following description of this measure:
This bill would authorize the development of elective programs for the training of the general public in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and life saving first aid techniques by the State Department of Health and county emergency medical services organizations.
The bill would give governmental agencies, persons, and firemen, policemen, or other local law enforcement officers, and mobile intensive care paramedics, who render emergency medical services, immunity from liability from civil damages under specified circumstances, which would be in addition to immunity provided by other statutory provisions.
The bill would specify what the trier of fact shall consider as expert testimony when there is any action for damages involving a claim of negligence against a physician providing emergency medical services in a hospital emergency department.
(See Exhibit #19, document PE-1)