October 3, 2022
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California Senate Votes to Support CARE Court, as Leading State Business Organizations Join Expanding Coalition

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CARE Court receives bi-partisan approval from state Senators in a 38-0 floor vote 

California Chamber of Commerce, 21 local chambers and the California Downtown Association back Governor Newsom’s mental health proposal

SACRAMENTO – In a critical floor vote today, Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed CARE Court received 38-0 approval by state Senators in an overwhelming show of support. Governor Newsom’s CARE Court coalition also continues to build momentum with the addition of key business organizations, which include the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Downtown Association and 21 local chambers of commerce from throughout the state. Collectively, these organizations represent thousands of California businesses.

Prior to today’s affirmative Senate floor vote, the CARE Court bill – SB 1338 by Senators Tom Umberg and Susan Eggman – passed the Senate Appropriations committee in a 7-0 vote last week. This means that CARE Court has been considered by three separate committees and has passed every single one without any opposing votes, and has now cleared the Senate with bipartisan support.

“With broad support from California’s state Senate, CARE Court is one step closer to becoming a reality in California,” said Governor Newsom, “I am also grateful to have the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Downtown Association, and 21 local chambers of commerce join our ever-expanding CARE Court coalition, which includes a diverse group of supporters focused on tackling the challenge of severe mental illness that too often leaves individuals on our streets without hope.”

“The California Chamber of Commerce and our colleagues from throughout the state are pleased to support Governor Newsom and his vision to provide support for those suffering from severe mental illness and substance use disorders through the newly proposed CARE Court plan,” said Jennifer Barrera, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. “CARE Court is a thoughtful, measured response to the tragedy of untreated mental illness impacting thousands of individuals. California employers have a clear stake in seeing the success of CARE Court as many business owners and their employees experience, first-hand, the impacts of inadequate policies that fail to address the needs of those individuals suffering on our streets and in our communities.”

“The establishment of CARE Court represents a new approach to early intervention and will help people get the support they deserve by addressing their underlying needs,” said Rena Leddy, President of the California Downtown Association. “We appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this important issue, and we are pleased to support this legislation.”

This announcement expands the growing coalition of supporters which includes state and local officials, families, first responders, health care professionals, behavioral health providers, civil rights groups, faith leaders and business groups, all in strong support of CARE Court.

CARE Court provides Californians suffering with untreated schizophrenia spectrum or other psychotic disorders with community-based treatment, services, and housing, and is intended to serve as an upstream intervention for the most severely impaired Californians.

The bill voted on today reflects new additions to the CARE Court framework – particularly to strengthen the housing component of the CARE plan and to detail other key elements, like court process and data collection. These amendments were developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, which are ongoing.

CARE Court builds on Governor Newsom’s $14.7 billion multi-year investment to provide 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots and more than $11 billion annually in community behavioral health services. The Governor’s approach focuses on quickly rehousing unsheltered individuals with behavioral health issues, all as new units come online, while also transforming Medi-Cal to provide more behavioral health services to people struggling the most. For more information visit https://www.chhs.ca.gov/care-court/.

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