Disability Rights California Statement on the Signing of AB 531, SB 326 and SB 43

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Disability Rights California Statement on the Signing of AB 531, SB 326 and SB 43

Disability Rights California is deeply troubled that Governor Newsom signed sweeping and regressive mental health legislation that takes California back 50 years in helping people with mental illness and substance use disorders.

The Governor’s legislation has been sold as a cure-all for ending homelessness. Faulty assumptions and wrong-headed approaches destine these changes for failure. Worse, more Californians with disabilities will be locked in costly institutions instead of being offered treatment in their communities in a manner that respects personal autonomy, supports holistic recovery, and encourages people to seek help.

Recent studies confirm that the primary reason people are unhoused is the lack of affordable housing. The newly enacted legislation does little to change this. These bills force resources to the least innovative and least effective parts of our behavioral health system, and away from what we know works: voluntary community-based services and supportive housing.

The top-down process of developing these initiatives has cut out the most important population – consumers. The disability community has neither asked for nor supports the resulting legislation. Further, this legislation will disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. Those most impacted by these policies have been listened to the least.

Taken together, SB 43, AB 531, and SB 326, along with the recently-launched CARE Court, are a tremendous step backwards for civil rights, behavioral health services, and our state.


Disability Rights California (DRC) – Is the agency designated under federal law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with disabilities. The mission of drc is to defend, advance, and strengthen the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities. For more information visit: https://www.disabilityrightsca.org.