Newsom urges support for state’s mental health reform measure

Gov. Gavin Newsom met with city leaders and public safety officials Wednesday to urge support for the Proposition 1an overhaul of the state’s mental health system that will be on the March 5 California primary election ballot.

The measure would reform California politics Mental Health Services Act and create a $6.4 billion bond to provide 10,000 new behavioral health beds. The plan would redirect existing funds to expand mental health and substance abuse services.

“We cannot continue doing what we have done,” Newsom said Wednesday at Los Angeles General Medical Center, where he was joined by mental health workers as well as Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and the Los Angeles County sheriff. Los Angeles, Robert Luna.

“Everything that people have told us they desperately need and expect from us, we have incorporated into Prop 1,” Newsom said.

The California Legislature, with rare bipartisan support, voted in September to put Newsom’s plan on the ballot.

Supporters say the proposal provides desperately needed improvements to the Mental Health Services Act, which voters approved in 2004. The law established a 1% tax on personal incomes over $1 million per year to fund health services. county mentality.

Proposition 1 would divert 30% of those funds, or about $1 billion a year, toward supportive housing for people with serious mental illness or substance use disorders.

Bass said the new funding model would focus on the root causes of homelessness rather than just treating the symptoms.

“We can get people off the streets, but we have to address why they became homeless to begin with,” he said Wednesday.

Opponents of the proposal argue that it would disrupt mental health services already run by counties. Californians against Proposition 1 Director Paul Simmons said he believes the Mental Health Services Act is effective as is and that building more behavioral health beds is not the answer.

“I think it will do more harm than good,” Simmons said. “They’re not building housing for the homeless, they’re just locking them up.”

The billion dollars in diverted funds means significantly fewer mental health resources for counties, Simmons said.

Californians largely support Proposition 1, polls show. According to a december survey According to the Public Policy Institute of California, two-thirds of likely voters said they would vote yes on the proposal.

A separate poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times and conducted in November, found that 60% of likely voters supported the ballot measure. Only 15% of likely voters had previously heard of the proposal.

As the ballot measure’s lead proponent, Newsom has been working to gain support from a wide range of city and state officials. The governor said the measure, if passed, would allow California to make tangible progress on the homelessness crisis.

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