Voters approve Proposition 1, Newsom’s overhaul of California’s mental health care system

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Voters approve Proposition 1, Newsom’s overhaul of California’s mental health care system

California politics, 2024 elections, mental health, homepage news

Taryn Luna

March 20, 2024

The exciting battle for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $6.4 billion bond measure to transform California’s mental health system finally ended Wednesday, more than two weeks after the primary.

Although election officials have until April 12 to officially certify the results, Proposition 1 led with 50.2% of the vote when the race was called with more than 7.5 million counted statewide.

This is the biggest change in decades in how California addresses homelessness, and a victory for doing something radically different. The passage of Proposition 1 means we can begin to repair the damage caused by decades of broken promises and political neglect to people suffering from serious mental illness,” Newsom said. Now counties and local officials must match the ambition of California voters. This will happen if we all take immediate action, the state government and local leaders together. The vote on the measure was so close that it took The Associated Press more than two weeks after polls closed on March 5 to pass Proposition 1.

Proposal 1 is approved

the problem of

a new $6.4 billion bond to support 10,000 treatment and housing beds and reconfiguration


a twenty-year-old mental health tax to fund as well

treatment services

for drug addiction.

The plan is key to Newsom’s strategy to address California’s homelessness crisis, an approach that moves away from the liberal model of voluntary treatment toward a more moderate stance that pushes people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders into care.

The bond measure is a key part of his policy because it provides funding for beds that counties said were essential to achieving his goals. But the measure also drew criticism from left-wing civil rights groups. who were concerned about the consequences of funding safe mental health facilities, and his Republican opponents on the right, who scoffed at the estimated $14 billion price tag amid a massive budget deficit.

Despite the millions his campaign spent, pollsters say Proposition 1 barely passed because of lower-than-expected turnout, which inflated the Republican share of the electorate. Election results showed that inland counties and parts of Southern California opposed the measure, while a majority of voters in Los Angeles and the Bay Area supported the plan.

Newsom’s campaign made the strategic decision to place the measure on the March ballot because it was a consequence


believed it could withstand a more conservative electorate. Delaying it until the November general election, when more Democrats are expected to vote, could have increased the measure’s chances of success, but would also leave Proposition 1 competing with other bonds for voter support.



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