CSAC Bulletin Article

Governor Newsom’s State of the State Address

February 14, 2019

Governor Gavin Newsom delivered his first State of the State address this week to a joint session of the California Legislature. While many of the specific issues he covered directly relate to county priorities, his speech continued the broad theme of working together to protect the California dream. He acknowledged that there are problems in the midst of all of the prosperity and progress in our state and he committed to making those hard decisions that will shape California for years to come.

“…the state of our State is strong,” Governor Gavin Newsom.

First, the Governor announced that he is redirecting National Guard troops from the border with troops being directed instead to prepare for the fire season, confront illegal cannabis farms, and address criminal smuggling at existing border checkpoints. He outlined that the state needs a fresh approach to water challenges that must protect the water supply and meet the needs of cities and farms. On the PG&E bankruptcy issue, the Governor committed to ensuring that the company upholds their obligations. He has appointed a task force that will develop a comprehensive strategy to present in 60 days. The priorities include continued access to power, justice for fire victims, fairness for employees, protection for ratepayers, focus on safety, and commitment to clean energy.

“Shelters solve sleep. Housing and supportive services solve homelessness.”

The Governor spent significant time discussing homelessness and called it an urgent moral issue. He appointed Darrell Steinberg, Mayor of Sacramento, to lead a new commission on homelessness and supportive housing. Governor Newsom outlined his budget proposals on homelessness and stressed the need for regional collaboration, supporting local governments, and focusing on prevention, rapid rehousing, mental health, and supportive housing to confront this statewide issue. On housing, the Governor referenced that California’s broader cost crisis starts with the lack of affordable homes. He believes too many cities and counties aren’t properly planning to build the needed housing and outlined his approach to provide incentives, but also accountability.

“Our ability to invest in everything we care about is constrained by the pressure of rising health care costs. It impacts everything else we want to do.”

On health care, the Governor emphasized his budget proposals and early actions related to prescription drugs, the individual mandate, and expanding Medi-Cal access for undocumented individuals.

Governor Newsom committed to developing a new master plan on aging for California. The challenges resulting from the growing senior population include a patchwork of public services, nursing shortage, and a demand for In-Home Supportive Services that outpaces capacity. He also appointed former California First Lady Maria Shriver to lead a taskforce on Alzheimer’s prevention and preparedness.

“I believe in our state. And I know that the best is yet to come.” 

For counties, there is ample opportunity for continued collaboration within all of these policy proposals and commissions. CSAC looks forward to continuing the partnership that has already developed with the Newsom Administration and working together on these critical issues confronting our state.

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