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Simitian Opts for Patience Over Force on Mammogram Bill

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

San Jose Mercury News

No, Sen. Joe Simitian isn’t even thinking about trying to override Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of his bill that would have required doctors to inform women with high breast density that they have the condition—which can mask tumors during mammograms.

Simitian, a Palo Alto Democrat, got a 35-1 vote in the Senate and 66-6 vote in the Assembly on SB 791, more than enough to override the veto. But rather than go that route, Simitian told IA, he’ll take another shot at the bill next year, particularly since he’s taken some comfort in Brown’s veto message.

The governor wrote that the notice that the bill required physicians to give—advising additional screening—went beyond providing simple information about a woman’s breast density. But the governor also hinted he would be open to a bill with different language.

“If the state must mandate a notice about breast density—and I am not certain it should—such a notice must be more carefully crafted with words that educate more than prescribe,” Brown wrote.

Simitian said he was “heartened” by those words and by preliminary discussions with the governor’s aides.

The law was spearheaded by Amy Colton, of Soquel, a registered nurse who has dense breast tissue and was shocked two years ago to learn she was in the latter stages of breast cancer, even though she had religiously gotten mammograms. So she entered her proposed legislation in Simitian’s “There Ought To Be a Law” contest.

View the full story (San Jose Mercury News)