Health and Human Services
Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 3 Continues
Thursday was a busy day for Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3, which convened at 11 a.m. and adjourned shortly after 4 p.m. Several items of importance to counties were discussed, including the Drug Medi-Cal Waiver, Continuum of Care Reform, and the County Welfare Directors of California’s Approved Relative Caregivers budget augmentation proposal. All items were held open. Agendas are linked below and contain good background information on the issues heard:
Laura’s Law Bill Amended
Assembly Member Waldron’s AB 59 was amended on April 6 to remove the mandate requiring all counties to implement Laura’s Law. Because of this change, CSAC has changed our position to NEUTRAL. In its prior form, AB 59 would have mandated that all counties implement Laura’s Law and required counties to use local funds, including realignment funding, Mental Health Services Act funding, and potentially General Fund. Other provisions extending the AOT period for up to 12 months and repealing the sunset date for the Laura’s Law demonstration project remain intact.
We had worked with the author’s office to convey our opposition to AB 59 and are pleased with the April 6 amendments. The County Behavioral Directors Association had also opposed AB 59, but dropped their position to NEUTRAL after the April 6 amendments. We wish to thank Assembly Member Waldron and her staff for their responsiveness and are pleased to adopt a neutral position.
Mental Health Services Act
In 2004, California voters passed Proposition 63, commonly referred to as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), levying a 1 percent tax on millionaires to help fund mental health programs. Since that time, more than $13 billion in MHSA funds have been raised for local mental health programs serving those in California who struggle with mental illness, including children and families. Yesterday, the Sacramento News and Review published “ Has California’s Proposition 63 had a positive impact? ” highlighting the success of the MHSA in making an impact on mental illness in our communities. The article comes from the efforts of CSAC affiliate, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA) and the newly formed Steinberg Institute, led by former Senator and mental health champion Darrell Steinberg.