FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2014
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Huff Epi-Pen Bill to Save Kids’ Lives Gains Momentum
Final Policy Committee Test Results in Unanimous Support for Student Safety
SACRAMENTO: Legislation that requires public schools to stock epinephrine auto injectors — commonly known as epi-pens — on campus has passed its final policy test in the State Assembly, gaining the unanimous support of legislators who serve on the Assembly Education Committee. SB 1266, authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), will help save lives by ensuring this critically important medicine can be administered quickly and safely if a student suffers from a serious allergic reaction during school hours. California law allows public schools to stock epinephrine, but does not require it.
“I think we can all agree that keeping children safe at school is one of government’s most basic obligations to parents,” said Senator Huff during the most recent committee hearing. “We have a new health epidemic in schools which warrants our attention to that obligation, life threatening allergies.”
Potentially fatal anaphylactic allergic reactions can and have taken place when a person is stung by a bee, ingests food such as shellfish or nuts, or even comes in contact with something as simple as latex. Reactions can be severe, even fatal, without prompt action. Epinephrine – commonly known as adrenalin – is the first line of treatment. It can be easily administered and it can take as little as five seconds to save a life.
According to Food Allergy Research & Education, which sponsored Senator Huff’s bill, as many as 15 million Americans suffer from life threatening allergies. It is estimated that nearly 6 million of these people are children under the age of 18 — one in every 13 children or 2 in every classroom. Approximately 25 percent of first time allergic reactions that require epinephrine happen at school.
“While I am both thankful and appreciative for the support I’ve received for SB 1266, the effort to protect our children in schools isn’t over yet,” said Senator Huff. “This issue has even drawn the attention of President Obama, who recently signed federal legislation to reward schools with preferential treatment in awarding grants if they stock epinephrine on campus. He also noted his own daughter has a peanut allergy.”
SB 1266 is supported by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology; Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; American Red Cross; California Academy of Physician Assistants; California School Nurses Association, California Advocates for Food Allergies; California American College of Emergency Physicians; California Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and many other local organizations and individuals. SB 1266 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Senator Huff serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.