Public Opposition Mounts To Newsom’s CARE Court

Press Release

Public Opposition Mounts To Newsom’s CARE Court

People holding protest signs in front of CA State Capitol saying No to CARE Court
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(Sacramento, CA) – While the Legislature voted this morning to advance Governor Newsom’s CARE Court bill, SB 1338 (Umberg), civil rights and disability advocates delivered an open opposition letter to the Governor.    

Former United States Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and former Congressman Tony Coelho, co-authors of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), joined Disability Rights California and more than 500 individuals and organizations nationwide, urging the Governor to change course on the CARE Court proposal. The letter calls on the Governor to implement policies that uphold the human rights to housing, healthcare, and equality by investing in infrastructure to house individuals who live on the streets and provide the comprehensive mental health services needed to achieve stabilization. 

CARE Court is a coerced, court-ordered treatment system that strips people with mental health disabilities of their right to make their own decisions about their lives. That causes more harm as studies show that forced treatment lessens the likelihood that people will seek voluntary treatment in the future.

Senator Harkin remarked, “The disability movement has pushed for years to be at the table when policymakers try to help them, using the slogan ‘Nothing About Us Without Us.’ Governor Newsom and the State Legislature need to listen to the people who are the intended beneficiaries of this policy if they want the policy to work.”

The Governor’s determination to enact sweeping legislation threatens the rights of people with mental health disabilities and is at odds with the Governor’s stated support for civil and human rights. Also, sadly, the Governor has failed to engage with the very people this proposal claims to help.  Instead, working with mayors across California, Newsom proposed to attack homelessness and severe mental illness with a bill that may take homeless people off the streets but does not guarantee the services and housing they need for sustained recovery. 

On July 26th, the Governor issued a proclamation celebrating the ADA’s 32nd anniversary, citing California’s leadership role in advancing disability rights. That same day, the Los Angeles Times editorialized against CARE Court, calling it a “false promise” (read the editorial here). Five days later, the San Francisco Chronicle opposed CARE Court (read the editorial here). The Chronicle called the plan “flashy” and “well-branded” but also said, “[f]or a bill centered around care, it’s remarkably careless.”

We strongly urge Governor Newsom to pull this proposal and not sign this bill into law.


Media Contacts

Melody Pomraning
Communications Director
Disability Rights California
(916) 504-5938


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: