Public Policy News

State Water Bond Put on November Ballot

With just a few hours left before a deadline to get it on this year’s fall ballot, the Brown administration and the State Legislature came to agreement and passed a water bond measure to be put before California voters in November as Proposition 1.

The $7.5 billion water bond measure allocates money to enhance the state’s water supply, make badly needed infrastructure improvements, and rehabilitate sensitive ecosystems.  This measure replaces the $11 billion bond passed by the Legislature in 2009, which was never put on a ballot before California voters due to fears that the continuing economic recession would result in its defeat.

The revamped bond will include $2.7 billion for surface storage projects, and it is particularly noteworthy to Biocom members that it allocates $700 million for water recycling projects, as Orange County already has an aquifer recharge recycling system in place and the City of San Diego is in the process of implementing an indirect potable reuse pilot project. An excellent Sacramento Bee article on the bond can be found here.

As the state legislature marches towards its mandatory August 31st adjournment, most bills that had an adverse impact on the life science industry have already been defeated or amended so substantially that they no longer merit Biocom opposition.  Bills requiring the industry to absorb costs for mandatory consumer prescription drug takeback programs and sharps disposal programs have both been withdrawn by their authors.  

In the last few weeks of session, Biocom will remain involved and diligent in monitoring last minute amendments and activities for anything that affects the industry either positively or negatively, and will then act accordingly.  You can find a list of bills currently monitored by Biocom (updated daily) here.

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Coastal Commission Approves Biocom-Supported Plan to Improve I-5 Corridor

On August 13th, the California Coastal Commission held its monthly meeting at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego. Among the agenda items was the North Coast Corridor (NCC) Program, a joint venture between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). Caltrans and SANDAG are working in collaboration with the cities of San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside to implement a comprehensive program that provides travel choices for residents, commuters, and visitors.

The NCC Program is comprised of three primary focus areas: the Interstate 5 (I-5) Express Lanes Project, coastal rail and transit enhancements, and environmental protection and coastal access improvements. The NCC Program is included in TransNet, the voter approved, half-cent sales tax initiative that helps fund transportation projects in the region, and the SANDAG 2050 Regional Transportation Plan.

At the meeting, Biocom staff spoke in support of the NCC Program. Many of our member companies are located in the Golden Triangle area and along the I-5 North County corridor, representing thousands of jobs and daily commutes. It is our hope that the NCC Program’s transportation investments will improve circulation, reduce travel times, and relieve congestion in the corridor.  

An efficient transportation system is an important part of business attraction and retention. The NCC Program plans to deliver transportation solutions and preserve our coastal environment. Biocom supports transportation investments such as the NCC Program in order to provide traffic relief and transportation alternatives to our members’ employees. After several hours of presentations and public comments, the Coastal Commission unanimously approved the NCC Program.

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FDA News Release: FDA Takes Steps to Help ensure the Reliability of Certain Diagnostic Tests

July 31, 2014

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took important steps to ensure that certain tests used by health care professionals to help diagnose and treat patients provide accurate, consistent and reliable results.

First, the FDA is issuing a final guidance on the development, review and approval or clearance of companion diagnostics, which are tests used to identify patients who will benefit from or be harmed by treatment with a certain drug. Companion diagnostic tests are intended to aid physicians in selecting appropriate therapies for individual patients. These tests are commonly used to detect certain types of gene-based cancers.

Read more here.

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Upcoming Event from FDA: Small Business and Industry Assistance REdI Conference this Fall

On September 18-19, 2014 FDA will host the Regulatory Education for Industry (REdI) Conference to provide direct, relevant, and helpful information on the key aspects of drug and device regulations.

This FDA-led forum brings together regulatory educators from FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation Research and Center for Devices and Radiological Health to address issues which impact both drugs and devices.

For more information and to register for this free event, click here.

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From the FDAVoice Blog: FDA Regulatory Science Aims to Facilitate Development of Safe and Effective Regenerative Medicine

One of FDA’s primary missions is to make sure that the products we approve are safe and effective. There is tremendous interest in the development of regenerative medicine, including numerous proposed products that rely on stem cells. Stem cells have the ability to generate more stem cells or to turn into more mature cell types such as nerve- or bone-producing cells. These properties make stem cells potentially well suited for use in regenerative medicine. They might be used in repairing heart, nerve, and brain damage or in treating diabetes and other diseases by repairing or replacing cells and tissues.

Read more here.

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