California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has vetoed a bill that would have helped low-income LGBTQ people gain easier access to treatment and prevention services for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Newsom said he supported the STI Prevention & Treatment Fairness Act, but that there simply wasn’t enough funding to accomplish what it sought to do.
The bill, which was sponsored by Equality California, would have expanded access to STI health services to low-income people with confidentiality concerns (including LGBTQ people) through California’s Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (PACT) program.
The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you.
But Newsom explained that the bill would expand the definition of “family planning” beyond the federal definition, “thereby creating a state-only program that creates significant ongoing General Fund cost pressure not accounted for in the budget.”
“With our state facing lower-than-expected revenues over the first few months of this fiscal year, it is important to remain disciplined when it comes to spending, particularly spending that is ongoing,” Newsom also noted in his veto message, adding that “Bills with significant fiscal impact, such as this measure, should be considered and accounted for as part of the annual budget process.”
Craig E. Thompson, CEO of the LGBTQ Health nonprofit APLA Health expressed disappointment in Newsom’s veto.
“As the latest data from the CDC makes clear, the STD epidemic is only growing worse in California and across the U.S. — with syphilis rates up nearly 28% in the last year alone,” Thompson told the Bay Area Reporter. “APLA Health will continue advocating for forward-thinking policy and funding initiatives to address this crisis, including ensuring that all LGBTQ+ Californians have access to convenient, low-cost sexual health services regardless of ability to pay.”
Newsom did recently sign a bill creating the Veteran’s Military Discharge Upgrade programto help LGBTQ veterans who were discharged under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” have better access to benefits.