California AER Bill (SB 779) Defeated in Assembly

SILVER SPRING, MD (AUGUST 30, 2004) — In a dramatic finale to a legislative battle that has gone on for well over a year, legislation that would have established a burdensome adverse event reporting (AER) system for dietary supplements in the state of California was finally defeated – by 4 votes – in the State Assembly last Friday.

“AHPA is very appreciative of the active role played by our California members who contacted their elected representatives to help stop this ill-conceived bill,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “We must now redouble our efforts to create a legitimate national AER system, where so much work has already been accomplished due to AHPA’s leadership, so that the inefficient approach proposed by SB 779 does not resurface in other states.”

SB 779 was introduced by State Senator Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) in February 2003. The bill moved quickly through two Senate committees and was passed by the Senate in June 2003. Since that time it was amended on five separate occasions and worked its way through the Assembly Health Committee, where it was approved on June 15, 2004 by a vote of 11 to 5, and the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which passed the bill on August 12, 2004 by a vote of 13 to 5.

The bill would have, as finally amended, established a new requirement for any company that manufactures or distributes dietary supplements in California, with the exception of those that consist only of vitamins and minerals, to provide quarterly reports of received adverse events to the state. According to the bill, failure to submit such reports would have been a criminal offense under state law. In addition, companies would have been billed by the state to recover the expense of reviewing submitted reports.
SB 779 had passed all of its legislative hurdles except for approval by the Assembly when that body voted on the bill on Friday. That vote was 37 in favor and 34 opposed, with 9 abstentions or absences. A bill before the Assembly needs to receive 41 affirmative votes for passage, so even though more votes were cast in favor than in opposition, the bill failed to reach the required minimum.

AHPA extends thanks and appreciation to Randy Pollack of the firm of Livingston & Mattesich, Sacramento, who served as AHPA’s legislative counsel to support our efforts to defeat SB 779. “The efforts made by AHPA and other trade associations were crucial to assuring the defeat of this bill,” said Pollack. “Critics of the dietary supplement industry have made SB 779 their number one priority and our success was never assured until the last day of the legislative session.”

Notably, Friday’s Assembly action included a “no” vote by Assemblyman Joe Nation (D-San Rafael), even though he had voted to support the bill in the Assembly Appropriations Committee earlier in the month. Four other Democratic members abstained from voting on the bill in the full Assembly after supporting it in one of the earlier committee votes. These were Ellen Corbett (San Leandro); Paul Koretz (West Hollywood); Gloria Negrete McLeod (Chino); and Simon Salinas (Salinas).

Complete information on the legislative history of SB 779 can be found at


The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal supplement industry. Founded in 1983, AHPA is the recognized leader in representing the responsible core of the botanical products industry, and is comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of herbal products. Website:

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