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Proposition 1 in California

By: Tara O’Brien

On March 5th, California and many other states held elections for the Presidential primaries. This election decides the presidential candidate within the Democratic and Republican parties for 2024, but the ballots in California also offered a unique opportunity to vote on passing a bill called “Proposition One.” 

Proposition one “authorizes $6.38 billion in bonds to build mental health treatment facilities for those with mental health and substance use changes [and] provides housing for the homeless” (California Secretary of State. “California Voter Information Guide – Proposition 1.”). Governor Gavin Newsom proposed this bill, which would give many communities in California the funding to support individuals who may be struggling with mental health. People who support this bill understand it will help many people get the resources they need and provide opportunities to access housing. It would also expand the Behavioral Health Services Act to “include treatment for substance use disorders,” which would be a significant step in the recognition of these illnesses. Overall, this Proposition would bring more federal awareness and funding to people who are experiencing homelessness or who are struggling with mental health issues. 

Some people argue against the bill because they believe that $6.38 billion is too much money to be allocated to people experiencing homelessness. Carl DeMaio is a politician and chairman of a conservative group who opposes the bill due to the view that if funding goes towards this act, it will be taken away from other mental health services. He believes money will be taken away from smaller companies and has distrusting views in how the money will be handled. Susan Talamantes Eggman is a Democratic member of the California State Senate who argues against DeMaio’s concerns by stating that these resources will be “reprioritized to those with the greatest needs” (California Proposition 1, Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure). She fully endorses this Proposition and believes this will be a long term solution to ending homelessness.They are ensuring that existing resources will not disappear; instead, they will support specific sites to help those experiencing homelessness and establish permanent instead of temporary housing. 

Election officials are still counting the primary ballots, but it is currently predicted that Proposition 1 will pass. This bill is one of the country’s closest votes so far, and the results have still yet to be announced. 

Sources:

California Proposition 1, Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure (March 2024) – Ballotpedia 

Californians split on ballot measure to tackle homelessness crisis 

Proposition 1 | Official Voter Information Guide | California Secretary of State

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