FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2023

Secretary of State Shirley Weber ´╗┐Assigns Number to March Ballot Measure, Invites Ballot Arguments


SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D., assigned the proposition number today to the legislative measure set to appear on the March 5, 2024, Presidential Primary Election ballot. Secretary Weber also invited interested Californians to submit arguments to be considered for inclusion in the Official Voter Information Guide. The guide is mailed to every voting household in California and posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

The proposition is listed below, along with the Legislative Counsel’s digest.

Proposition 1

Proposition 1 contains portions of two bills, AB 531 and SB 326. 

AB 531 (Chapter 789, Statutes of 2023) Irwin.  The Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond Act of 2023. (PDF)

Existing law establishes the Multifamily Housing Program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Existing law requires assistance for projects under the program to be provided in the form of deferred payment loans to pay for eligible costs of specified types of development, as provided. Existing law requires that specified funds appropriated to provide housing for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness and who are inherently impacted by or at increased risk for medical diseases or conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other communicable diseases be disbursed in accordance with the Multifamily Housing Program for specified uses.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA does not apply to the approval of ministerial projects. Existing law, until July 1, 2024, exempts from CEQA a project funded to provide housing for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, as described above, if certain requirements are satisfied, including if the project proponent obtains an enforceable commitment to use a skilled and trained workforce for any proposed rehabilitation, construction, or major alterations, as specified.

This bill would provide that projects funded by the Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond Act of 2024 that provide housing for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness and who are inherently impacted by or at increased risk for medical diseases or conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other communicable diseases and are disbursed in accordance with the Multifamily Housing Program, or projects that are disbursed in accordance with the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program, are a use by right and subject to the streamlined, ministerial review process. The bill would define use by right for these purposes to mean that the local government’s review of the project does not require a conditional use permit, planned unit development permit, or other discretionary local government review or approval that would constitute a project subject to the approval process in CEQA.

Because the bill would revise the approval process of specified projects, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law authorizes the State Department of Health Care Services to, subject to an appropriation, establish a Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program to award grants as specified for the construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of behavioral health treatment resources, as described. Existing law repeals this program on January 1, 2027.

This bill would continue that program indefinitely.

Existing law, the Bronzan-McCorquodale Act, contains provisions governing the operation and financing of community mental health services in every county through locally administered and locally controlled community mental health programs. Existing law, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), an initiative measure enacted by the voters as Proposition 63 in the November 2, 2004, statewide general election, establishes the Mental Health Services Fund to fund various county mental health programs.

This bill would enact the Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond Act of 2024 which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $6,380,000,000 to finance loans or grants for the acquisition of capital assets for the conversion, rehabilitation, or new construction of permanent supportive housing for veterans and others who are homeless and meet specified criteria, and for grants for the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program, as specified.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

The bill would provide for the submission of specified sections of this bill and SB 326 to the voters at the March 5, 2024, statewide primary election.

SB 326 (Chapter 790, Statutes of 2023) Eggman. The Behavioral Health Services Act.

(1) Existing law, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), an initiative measure enacted by the voters as Proposition 63 at the November 2, 2004, statewide general election, funds a system of county mental health plans for the provision of mental health services. Existing law authorizes the MHSA to be amended by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature if the amendments are consistent with and further the intent of the MHSA. Existing law authorizes the Legislature to add provisions to clarify procedures and terms of the MHSA by majority vote.

If approved by the voters at the March 5, 2024, statewide primary election, this bill would recast the MHSA by, among other things, renaming it the Behavioral Health Services Act (BHSA), expanding it to include treatment of substance use disorders, changing the county planning process, and expanding services for which counties and the state can use funds. The bill would revise the distribution of MHSA moneys, including allocating up to $36,000,000 to the department for behavioral health workforce funding. The bill would authorize the department to require a county to implement specific evidence-based practices.

This bill would require a county, for behavioral health services eligible for reimbursement pursuant to the federal Social Security Act, to submit the claims for reimbursement to the State Department of Health Care Services (the department) under specific circumstances. The bill would require counties to pursue reimbursement through various channels and would authorize the counties to report issues with managed care plans and insurers to the Department of Managed Health Care or the Department of Insurance.

The MHSA establishes the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and requires it to adopt regulations for programs and expenditures for innovative programs and prevention and early intervention programs established by the act. Existing law requires counties to develop plans for innovative programs funded under the MHSA.

This bill would rename the commission the Behavioral Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and would change the composition and duties of the commission, as specified. The bill would delete the provisions relating to innovative programs and instead would require the counties to establish and administer a program to provide housing interventions. The bill would provide that “low rent housing project,” as defined, does not apply to a project that meets specified criteria.

This bill would make extensive technical and conforming changes.

(2) Existing law, the Bronzan-McCorquodale Act, contains provisions governing the operation and financing of community mental health services for persons with mental disorders in every county through locally administered and locally controlled community mental health programs. Existing law further provides that, to the extent resources are available, community mental health services should be organized to provide an array of treatment options in specified areas, including, among others, case management and individual service plans. Under existing law, mental health services are provided through contracts with county mental health programs.

The bill would authorize the State Department of Health Care Services to develop and revise documentation standards for individual service plans, as specified. The bill would revise the contracting process, including authorizing the department to temporarily withhold funds or impose monetary sanctions on a county behavioral health department that is not in compliance with the contract.

(3) The bill would provide that its provisions are severable.

(4) The bill would provide for the submission of specified sections of this bill and AB 531 to the voters at the March 5, 2024, statewide primary election, as specified.

(5) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Ballot Arguments

Arguments may be submitted for or against the measure. Arguments selected for the Official Voter Information Guide will be on public display between November 21 and December 11. If multiple arguments are submitted for a proposition, state law gives first priority to arguments written by legislators in the case of legislative measures; subsequent priority goes to bona fide citizen associations and then to individuals. No more than three signers are allowed to appear on an argument or rebuttal to an argument.

Ballot arguments cannot exceed 500 words and rebuttals to ballot arguments cannot exceed 250 words. All submissions should be typed and double-spaced. Arguments may be hand-delivered to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814; faxed to (916) 653-3214; or emailed to VIGarguments@sos.ca.gov. If faxed or emailed, the original documents must be received within 72 hours. The deadline to submit ballot arguments is November 7 by 5:00 p.m. The deadline to submit rebuttals to the ballot arguments is November 16 by 5:00 p.m.

For more information on ballot measures and election deadlines, please visit: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/pres-prim-march-2024

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