2022 Budget Priorities
ETE applauds Governor Newsom for proposing unprecedented new investments to rebuild the state’s depleted public health infrastructure, increase access to behavioral health services and substance use disorder treatment, and expand access to health care for all Californians regardless of immigration status. At the same time, however, targeted public health funding remains critical to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated to address alarming increases in overdose deaths, skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and ongoing elevated transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis. ETE is urging the Governor and Legislature to support the following strategic priorities of critical importance to addressing the ongoing epidemics of HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis, and overdose in California:
- Health Equity and Harm Reduction Initiative (HEHR): Allocate $80 million general fund one-time to sustain and expand the California Harm Reduction Initiative (CHRI) pilot and support a broader range of harm reduction services, including drop-in centers, mobile services, and overdose prevention programs;
- Syphilis and Congenital Syphilis Outbreak Strategy (SOS): Allocate $49 million general fund one-time over five years to intensify syphilis and congenital syphilis prevention, screening, and treatment efforts in local health jurisdictions with the highest levels of syphilis and congenital syphilis transmission;
- Close STI Coverage Gap for LGBTQ+ Californians: Allocate $7 million general fund ongoing to support the expansion of access to STI testing and treatment services for low-income and uninsured LGBTQ+ individuals through the Family PACT program;
- Increase Condom Access for Youth in Schools: Allocate $750,000 general fund ongoing to establish a Condom Access Program at the California Department of Education to make free condoms available in public high schools, middle schools, and school-based health centers that opt in to the program;
- Increase Hepatitis C Prevention and Linkage to Care Services: Allocate $20 million general fund ongoing to improve the capacity of local health jurisdictions and community-based organizations to provide hepatitis C outreach, testing, and linkage to care and treatment services for the most vulnerable Californians;
- Hepatitis B Outreach, Screening, and Linkage to Care Demonstration Projects: Allocate $8 million general fund one-time over five years to support up to five demonstration projects to identify best practices for improving hepatitis B outreach, screening, and linkage to care for the most vulnerable Californians.
ETE is also in strong support of four additional proposals that will further accelerate the state’s efforts to end the HIV, STI, viral hepatitis, and overdose epidemics:
- Expand Testing for HIV, Hepatitis C, and Syphilis in Hospital Emergency Departments: The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is requesting $30 million general fund to increase opt-out testing and linkage to care services for HIV, hepatitis C, and syphilis in hospital emergency departments;
- Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund: A coalition of public health organizations is requesting $100 million general fund annually to support a Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund, which would provide grants to community-based organizations, community clinics, and tribal organizations to identify and work to address the most urgent issues impacting their communities;
- Office of Racial Equity: A coalition of advocacy groups is requesting $40 million general fund annually to establish a statewide Office of Racial Equity, which would identify and address systemic racism embedded in government policies and programs that have resulted in poorer outcomes and disparities in BIPOC communities;
- Housing for Current and Former Sex Workers: The DecrimSexWorkCA Coalition is requesting $147 million general fund one-time for a pilot program to support five to ten housing programs for unhoused and housing insecure current and former sex workers that includes connections to culturally competent services.
2022 Legislative Priorities
AB 2223 (Wicks) would ensure that no one in California is investigated, prosecuted, or incarcerated for ending a pregnancy or experiencing a pregnancy loss. This is a critical issue for BIPOC individuals who are more likely to experience adverse pregnancy outcomes as a result of systemic racial inequities.
SB 17 (Pan) would establish a statewide Office of Racial Equity (ORE) and Racial Equity and Advisory and Accountability Council (REAAC) to identify and address systemic racism embedded in government policies and programs that have resulted in poorer outcomes and disparities in BIPOC communities.
SB 57 (Wiener) would allow San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles to establish overdose prevention programs to better address increasing overdose deaths, connect people to substance use disorder treatment, housing, and other needed services, and reduce new cases of HIV and viral hepatitis.
SB 357 (Wiener) would repeal a California law that criminalizes loitering with intent to commit prostitution and create a way for people who have been convicted of loitering in the past to have their records cleared. This law is discriminatorily enforced against BIPOC sex workers and allows police to arrest someone based on what they are wearing or where they are standing.
SB 923 (Wiener) would require health plans to require transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) cultural competency training for contracted providers, their staff, and health plan staff. The bill would also ensure that plan provider directories identify providers who offer gender affirming services.
SB 939 (Pan) would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and drug manufacturers from taking discriminatory actions that undermine the benefits of the federal 340B drug discount program. The bill would ensure that 340B savings remain with safety-net providers – as intended by Congress – who use them to expand access to care for low-income patients.
SB 1234 (Pan) would expand access to STI prevention and treatment for low-income and uninsured LGBTQ+ Californians through the state’s the Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (Family PACT) program. People not at risk for experiencing or causing unintended pregnancy are not currently eligible for Family PACT services.
ETE secured the following investments in the Fiscal Year 2021-22 state budget:
- $4 million annually for local health departments and community-based organizations to address skyrocketing STI rates
- $3 million annually for the Syringe Exchange Supply Clearinghouse
- $1 million one-time funding to purchase hepatitis C test kits and support training for personnel to administer the tests
- $5 million one-time funding to establish HIV and aging demonstration projects
- Expansion of the state’s PrEP Assistance Program to fund navigation and retention coordinators and related services
ETE secured the following investments in the Fiscal Year 2019-20 state budget:
- $5 million annually for local health departments and community-based organizations to provide comprehensive HIV prevention services
- $5 million annually for local health departments and community-based organizations to address skyrocketing STI rates
- $5 million annually for local health departments and community-based organizations to provide hepatitis C testing and linkage to care services