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Newsom wants more than $4 billion for mental health bond. California mayors want even more
Sacramento Bee - 8/22/2023
Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!
CITY, COUNTY LEADERS URGE FOR MORE MONEY IN BOND BILL
Via Maggie Angst...
As Gov. Gavin Newsom pushes to get his $4.68 billion mental health bond on the March 2024 ballot, mayors from California’s largest cities are calling for more cash.
The mayors, including Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and Karen Bass of Los Angeles, penned a letter to the governor and legislative leaders on Monday requesting that they increase the bond amount to $6.2 billion — a hike of more than $1.5 billion.
Under the mayors’ plan, the original $4.68 billion would go toward building 10,000 new mental health treatment beds, while the additional funds would be set aside for cities and counties to decide how best to deploy new housing and treatment services in their communities.
“We have reached a crisis point,” the letter read. “Seriously mentally ill and addicted Californians are languishing in our communities in dangerous encampments. ... We assure you that our communities stand at the ready to utilize these funds to support the needs of our most vulnerable residents.”
In addition to the bond measure, Newsom also crafted a plan to overhaul how counties across California pay for mental health care. That proposal would make a series of changes to the 2004 voter-approved Mental Health Services Act in order to direct more funds into housing and treatment for unhoused residents diagnosed with mental illnesses.
The two proposals are moving through the legislature as SB 326, authored by Sen. Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, and AB 531, from Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin. SB 326, which would reform the Mental Health Services Act, is scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday.
WOMEN’S CAUCUS DEFENDS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS
Domestic violence restraining orders are an effective tool for keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, argues the California Legislative Women’s Caucus in a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is weighing whether such measures pass constitutional muster.
The “friend of the court” brief urges the SCOTUS to overturn a lower court decision that invalidated the federal law aimed at reducing gun violence. According to a statement from the caucus, it’s the first amicus brief ever to be filed by a state-level women’s caucus.
“More than half of women killed by gun violence are killed by intimate partners or other family members, and when it’s a domestic violence situation, the presence of a gun increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%. Restraining orders that can remove guns from those who present a threat to themselves or others are highly effective in preventing gun violence,” said caucus chair Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, in a statement.
She went on to say that if the Supreme Court overturns the law, “untold numbers of people, especially women, will die.”
Caucus vice-chair Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, said that the gun safety law wasn’t passed to infringe on the Second Amendment.
“They’re passed by a large majority to protect people from those who abuse firearms or should not have access to them in the first place,” she said.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Let’s be clear — Lauri Carleton was a victim of the hate-filled calls to action made by politicians and extremists that continue to push false narratives and misinformation about the LGBTQ+ community. Her unwavering commitment to standing for the dignity and respect of LGBTQ+ people is a testament to her kindness and humanity, and will always be remembered.”
- Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang, issuing a statement in response to the killing of a Lake Arrowhead woman over a LGBTQ Pride flag.
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