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Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan Celebrates Historic Budget

The governor’s proposed budget includes extensive funding for mental health support, reproductive healthcare, and drought mitigation

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan celebrates Governor Newsom’s forward thinking and health-centered budget. With historic investments in behavioral and reproductive healthcare, this budget listens to vulnerable groups and takes precedent-setting steps to protect them. The budget also makes vital investments in fighting climate change and working towards climate resiliency, which are critical to our children’s future.

The budget contains a comprehensive commitment of $7.5 million dollars, with $6 million ongoing, to Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s priority 988 system. This investment in 988 comes after years of advocacy on the state and national level, and legislation carried by Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan in California. “I am beyond grateful to see that the Governor has committed to ensuring that Californians suffering from mental health crisis receive a comprehensive health care response, instead of the law enforcement response they receive today. This move forward will save lives and provide the care to Californians that they deserve. I cannot overstate how critical the $6 million in ongoing funding will be to ensuring that California provides the continuum of care that those in mental health crisis deserve” said Assemblymember Bauer Kahan. “I am deeply appreciative  of the governor for working with us to provide the safer future that Californians deserve.”

This investment enables a reimaging of emergency response system, including seamless connections between 988 and 911, ten positions in the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, and additional investments in plans for mobile crisis response on the ground. "988 is more than a phone number, and today’s budget announcement confirms that Governor Newsom agrees. The new line has the potential to transform California's mental health crisis response” said Tara Gamboa-Eastman, Legislative Advocate for the Steinberg Institute. “We now must fully fund the 988 system by passing a small monthly fee on phone lines to mirror the funding for 911. A sustained funding source builds upon the Governor’s vision for 988 implementation, and ensures every Californian has someone to call, someone to come, and somewhere to go."

Governor Newsom's proposed budget is a critical step towards ensuring mental health emergencies receive a mental health response," said Lauren Finke, Policy Advisor at The Kennedy Forum. "California can no longer accept the current system where mental health emergencies are effectively criminalized, resulting in trauma, worsening conditions, and too often death. I urge the legislature to follow the Governor's lead and make California a national leader in mental health crisis response.

In her role as the new Chair of the Water Parks and Wildlife committee, Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan supports the budget’s inclusion of $750 million in drought mitigation funds. Despite record precipitation in December, virtually all of the state is still facing drought conditions and we have a long ways to go before we erase the deficit in water supplies that the past two historically dry years have left us with. We also need to work towards climate resiliency and a future that may bring additional drought years,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan.  “I look forward to working with the Governor and my legislative colleagues to ensure that communities have access to water and to protect fish and wildlife species. I also want to applaud the governor for his commitment to wildfire prevention, including generous investments in resilient forests and landscapes.”

As a lifelong advocate for reproductive rights and the chair of the Select Committee on Reproductive health, Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan is thrilled at the $60 million dollar investment in reproductive healthcare. “Reproductive rights are threatened now more than ever” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “The investments in increasing accessibility and availability of care is exactly what California needs as we face pandemic impacts and decreased healthcare access in other states.” These allocations tackle patient safety and wellbeing, as well as addressing critical workforce shortages.

In addition to investing in safety for those in mental health crisis and people seeking reproductive healthcare, the budget also includes expanded plans to protect Californians from retail theft. The governor has added resources for a task force and enforcement efforts to apprehend and protect the many areas, including AD 16, that have been affected by organized theft.