Newsom cites cost of vetoing LGBTQ youth homelessness bill; signs LGBTQ vet legislation :: Bay Area Reporter

In vetoing a bill to help homeless LGBTQ youth in California, Governor Gavin Newsom cited the cost of the legislation in his veto message released Monday. It was his first veto of an LGBTQ-related bill this session.

Over the weekend, Newsom signed into law a law to help LGBTQ veterans released under the military’s homophobic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Drafted by Assemblyman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), Assembly Bill 325 establishes the Veterans Military Release Upgrade Grant Program to help fund service providers that will educate veterans on the release upgrade process and help eligible veterans apply.

He referred to the Legislature, however, AB 2663 by Assemblyman James C. Ramos (D-Highland), which would have instructed the state Department of Human Services to initiate a five-year pilot project called the Youth Acceptance Project in the counties who volunteered. to subscribe to it. 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.

“By extending this model statewide, we can change the heartbreaking outcomes for young people, from rejection to acceptance,” wrote Jill Jacobs, a lesbian who is executive director of the Oakland-based agency, in an Aug. 25 guest review for the Bay Area Reporter. .

In his Sept. 19 veto message, Newsom noted that he supports Ramos’ legislative effort “to prevent youth homelessness by increasing acceptance of LGBTQ+ children among parents/guardians, adoptive parents, extended family members, social workers and others involved in a child’s care.”

Nonetheless, Newsom pointed to the bill requiring “millions of dollars to successfully implement the proposed pilot program and these ongoing resources are not reflected in the budget. With our state facing lower-than-expected revenues in the first few months of this fiscal year, it’s important to remain disciplined on spending, especially ongoing spending.”

Newsom added, “We must prioritize 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 with a significant tax impact, such as this measure, should be considered and accounted for.” as part of the annual budget process.

Responding to the governor’s veto in a statement, Ramos expressed disappointment and pledged to work with supporters of the bill to see how to revive it in the next legislative session.

“I am disappointed with the governor’s veto, but I will consult with our sponsors and the administration to consider introducing a revamped proposal to address the governor’s concerns,” Ramos said. “AB 2663 has received overwhelming support in the Legislature because of the population targeted by the bill. I am heartened that the Governor’s message declared support for our “efforts to prevent youth homelessness by increasing acceptance of LGBTQ+ children among parents/guardians, adoptive parents, adoptive parents, extended family members, social workers, and others involved in a child’s care.'”

Christine Stoner-Mertz, CEO of the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, which had sponsored the bill, calling homelessness rates among LGBTQ+ youth “alarming and unacceptable,” said the pilot program of the Youth Acceptance Project is modeled after a successful program that prevents homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth and their involvement in the child welfare system.

“These youngsters are well worth California’s investment,” Stoner-Mertz said. “We are grateful to Assemblyman Ramos for his dedication to accepting young people, and we are determined to continue working for a California where all young people have the chance to thrive.”

LGBTQ+ youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and their families who struggle to come to terms with the youth’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression could have received services through the Youth Acceptance Project. young people if the bill had become law. A clinician or social worker would have been in charge of the services, which the bill specifically required to be designed to increase acceptance among parents, caregivers, adoptive parents, adoptive parents, extended family members , social workers and additional staff of an LGBTQ+ youth. in the care of a young person.

The state agency should have submitted a report to the Legislature with an evaluation of the pilot project. It was to end on January 1, 2030.

LGBTQ Vet Bill

Irwin’s AB 325 will provide assistance to service members released on DADT who wish to update their military records and access education, health, burial and other benefits available to honorably discharged service members . After Congress repealed the DADT in 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs created a process for members of the armed forces who could prove that their release was due to their sexual orientation, including under the DADT policy, to request an upgrade or release fix. (Information on how to do this is available online here.)

But the process for veterans less than honorably discharged from DADT to apply for an upgrade can be cumbersome, Newsom’s office noted when announcing he signed the bill Sept. 17, requiring an attorney. and other aids to get an upgrade in their exit classification.

“While the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ended a shameful injustice against LGBTQ Americans serving in our armed forces, its legacy continues to hang over the women and men unfairly ousted under the discriminatory policy,” Newsom said. “With this legislation, the state will help these heroes navigate the process to correct the record and access the important benefits they deserve and have repeatedly earned. equality.”

Newsom also posted a video about the bill via his office’s Twitter page.

Irwin thanked Newsom for signing the bill in his own tweet on Monday. The new grant program it is creating will also help veterans released due to mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“CA Veterans less than honorably discharged due to sexual orientation, TBI or PTSD have waited long enough to have their service honored. Proud to work with @MyCalVet to ensure @DeptofDefense provides to these vets the benefits they have earned in service to all of us. #AB325, Irwin wrote, using the California Department of Veterans Affairs Twitter account.

According to an analysis of the bill done for the state Senate Appropriations Committee, it is likely to cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The total cost of the grant program will depend on the number of counties that enroll and the number of veterans in each county who are eligible.

The national veterans agency told lawmakers it “expects the costs of administering the grant program to be minor and absorbable.”

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