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Your support letter can be sent via email to leg.unit@gov.ca.gov

Honorable Governor Gavin Newsom
1021 O Street, Suite 9000
Sacramento, California 95814

sent via email to leg.unit@gov.ca.gov

RE: AB 979 (Alvarez) – Request for Signature

Dear Governor Newsom:

I write to you in support of AB 979, a bill that would facilitate the formation and maintenance of family councils in long term care facilities.  Family councils are critically important to supporting family members and residents and maintaining high quality care in long term care facilities.

California’s family council laws are increasingly anachronistic, representing a time before email communication and COVID lockdowns.  These laws guarantee the use of facility space for in-person meetings and physical bulletin boards for displaying meeting notices and other important communication, but do not account for virtual meetings or communication through email.  During 2020-21, when families and friends could not enter long term care facilities, family councils struggled to meet and communicate. 

In addition, family councils are sometimes undermined by the operators of facilities who view them as a nuisance.  Making matters worse, the laws regarding family councils in nursing homes are different from those in assisted living facilities.  Statutory reform is needed to support the vital work that family councils carry out.

AB 979 modernizes existing family council laws, so that members can meet and communicate electronically and continue to operate during a public health emergency.  The bill ensures that facilities will be more responsive to concerns raised by family councils, discourages operators from undermining family council activities, and clarifies that control of the family council membership and participation in meetings lies with the family council itself.  AB 979 also harmonizes family council protections in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which is long overdue.

Please sign AB 979.


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