Newsom Vetoes LGBTQ Health Bill Due to Price :: Bay Area Reporter

California Governor Gavin Newsom spiked another bill that LGBTQ advocates had backed this legislative session because of its price tag. This time it was legislation to help residents of low-income states access treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

Newsom on Sunday vetoed Senate Bill 1234, the Fairness in STI Prevention and Treatment Act drafted by Sen. Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). He had sought to expand access to STI prevention and treatment services to income-eligible patients who have privacy concerns, including LGBTQ+ patients, through the Family Planning, Access, Care and state treatment.

Those patients in the program, known as Family PACT, would have been reimbursed for the cost of their care, subject to legislative appropriation and any potential drawdown of federal matching funds.

“With STI rates on the rise over the past seven years, we need to reverse the trend and expand access to confidential, high-quality STI care for LGBTQ+ patients,” advocacy group Essential tweeted. Access Health earlier this summer to explain why lawmakers needed to pass the legislation.

In a statement to the Bay Area Reporter, APLA Health CEO Craig E. Thompson expressed disappointment with Newsom’s decision. The Los Angeles agency was a major co-sponsor of the legislation.

“We are disappointed with the governor’s decision to veto SB 1234,” Thompson said. “But, as the latest data from the CDC clearly shows, the STD epidemic is only getting worse in California and across the United States – with syphilis rates up nearly 28% in the last one alone. APLA Health will continue to advocate for forward-thinking policy and funding initiatives to address this crisis, including ensuring that all LGBTQ+ Californians have access to convenient and affordable sexual health services, regardless of regardless of their ability to pay.

In his September 25 veto message, Newsom did not dispute that more needed to be done to address the decades-long rise in sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Nonetheless, without dedicated funding, Newsom said he could not sign SB 1234.

“While I support the author’s efforts to reduce STDs and reinfections in California, SB 1234 would expand Family PACT services beyond the federal definition of family planning, creating a state-only program that creates significant continued pressure on General Fund costs not reflected in the budget,” Newsom wrote.

An analysis of the proposed bill to state lawmakers noted that its cost was unknown but would likely require “perhaps tens of millions of dollars for increased use of services related to the prevention and treatment of STD”. He added that if SB 1234 resulted in a 10% increase in the number of services provided under the Family PACT program, the cost would increase by approximately $37 million, which would require $28 million in federal funds and $9 million dollars from the state’s general fund.

In a number of his veto messages this month, Newsom repeated his position that because the Golden State “is facing lower-than-expected revenue in the first few months of this fiscal year, it’s important to stay disciplined. in terms of expenditure”. , in particular ongoing expenditure.”

Newsom added that his primary focus is “existing obligations and priorities, including education, health care, public safety and safety net programs.”

With bills passed this session totaling $20 billion in one-time spending commitments and more than $10 billion in ongoing commitments not accounted for in the state budget, Newsom argued that “the bills Bills with a significant budgetary impact, such as this measure, should be considered and accounted for as part of the annual budget process.

It’s the same reasoning Newsom used to explain why he last Monday vetoed Assembly Bill 2663 by Assemblyman James C. Ramos (D-Highland). The bill would have instructed the state Department of Social Services to start a five-year pilot project called the Youth Acceptance Project in counties who volunteered to enroll. The state agency has reportedly contracted with the nonprofit Family Builders by Adoption to provide therapy-style support and intervention services to LGBTQ+ youth who are receiving or at risk of receiving child protection services. ‘childhood.

There are nine other LGBTQ-related bills still before Newsom to sign into law or veto before the deadline to do so this Friday, September 30. They range from adding protections for incarcerated transgender and LGBTQ youth to helping LGBTQ foster families and trans employees and faculty at community colleges and public universities across the state.

Newsom in recent weeks has signed two LGBTQ-related bills into law. AB 2873, authored by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), requires applicants to the state’s low-income housing tax credit programs, as well as the one of their subsidiaries and affiliates, annually submit a report to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee on how they plan to increase purchases from LGBTQ business enterprises and those owned by women, minorities, and veterans disabled.

AB 325, authored by Assemblyman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), will help LGBTQ veterans released under the Army’s homophobic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. It establishes the Veterans Military Release Upgrade Grant program to help fund service providers who will educate veterans about the release upgrade process and help eligible veterans apply.

UPDATE 09/26/22 with a statement from APLA Health.

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Richard L. Militello