Gavin Newsom Celebrates Proposition 1 Victory: $6.4B for Homelessness & Mental Health

Gavin Newsom Celebrates Proposition 1 Victory
Governor Gavin Newsom and lawmakers in Sacramento have secured a significant win as Proposition 1 narrowly passed, providing $6.4 billion to overhaul California’s struggling mental health system and combat homelessness.

Nearly two weeks after Californians went to the polls on March 5, the bipartisan Proposition 1 battle has concluded, with 50.2% of voters supporting the measure. The delay in finalizing the results, typical in California elections, was influenced by an unusual coalition of civil rights groups and conservative GOP grassroots, as well as lower voter turnout.

Governor Gavin Newsom hailed the victory as a significant step towards addressing homelessness, stating on social media shortly after the Associated Press confirmed Proposition 1’s passage, “This is a significant victory for approaching homelessness with a fresh perspective. Now, it’s time to take action to repair the damage caused by decades of neglect towards those suffering from severe mental illness. Thank you, California.”

Although the final certification won’t occur until April 12, surpassing the 50% threshold secures the measure’s success. Governor Gavin Newsom emphasized the need for collaboration between state and local officials, stating, “Now, it’s crucial for counties and local authorities to match the ambition of California voters. This historic reform can only succeed if we all act promptly and collectively.”

As is typical in California’s politically diverse landscape, data indicates that Proposition 1 enjoyed strong support in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, areas heavily affected by the nationwide homelessness crisis, while regions like the Inland Empire and Orange County opposed the measure.

A combination of two bills passed by the legislature last year, formally known as the Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure, Proposition 1 authorizes California to raise over $6.4 billion in bonds to provide housing for the state’s thousands of homeless individuals. Additionally, the funds will be used to establish at least 10,000 new beds and facilities for those grappling with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Governor Gavin Newsom, who invested significant political capital in Proposition 1, maintains a strong national profile as one of President Joe Biden’s top supporters leading into the general election. To avoid potential embarrassment in the event of Proposition 1’s failure and amid ongoing budget negotiations, Newsom postponed his State of the State address scheduled for today, with no new date announced yet.

The measure’s success coincides with an announcement from Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire, and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas regarding an agreement on unspecified “solutions” worth up to $18 billion to tackle the state’s growing deficit.

Lower-than-expected tax revenues, compounded by the fallout from last year’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, have contributed to an estimated $73 billion deficit. To address this, the Democrat-controlled legislature and Governor Newsom aim to refine the budget with these solutions, Rainy Day Fund reserves of approximately $12 billion, and other measures.

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