The outcomes from federal, state and local elections on November 8th will have an incredible impact on the communities we serve. Although there is great uncertainty as to what the Presidential election outcome means for our community, we stand at the ready to protect the Affordable Care Act, to fight for the human and reproductive rights of all, and to ensure that HIV and other health services are properly funded.
Additionally, a number of state and local ballot measures were passed or rejected by voters that will have a direct impact on our fight against HIV/AIDS. Here are the propositions San Francisco AIDS Foundation was keeping an eye on and what they mean for our community members.
Local Ballot Measures
Proposition I: Funding for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities
We were pleased San Francisco voters chose to establish the “Dignity Fund,” which will guarantee a source of funding for community-based programs and services for seniors and adults with disabilities living in San Francisco (without raising taxes). The $38 million a year initiative is funded for 20 years and will help people struggling with the high cost of living in our city.
A mixed outcome with Propositions J & K
Proposition J, which would have directed funds for homeless services and transportation system improvements, passed with over two-thirds of the vote. Unfortunately, Prop J was dependent on Prop K, which did not pass. Prop K would have increased the city’s sales tax by three-quarters of a cent and needed two-thirds of the vote to be adopted. Without a clear funding stream, beneficiaries of Prop J do not have a path forward.
Proposition Q creates more uncertainty for those without stable housing
With 53 percent of the vote in favor, Prop Q permits police officers to remove tents from city sidewalks as long as they give the occupants 24-hour notice and guarantee shelter. Unfortunately, the shelter guarantee is only for one night and the city already faces long waitlists for shelter beds and temporary housing. Coupled with lack of funding for Proposition J, Prop Q will further exacerbate an already serious issue.
State Ballot Measures
Hospital funding for Medi-Cal becomes permanent under Prop 52
On the eve that a Medi-Cal hospital fee was set to expire, 70 percent of voters chose to make this fee permanent. This means that low-income children and adults will continue to receive high quality care in California hospitals.
Condoms requirement in adult films under Prop 60
Voters were asked whether or not condoms should be required in all adult films, but 54 percent of Californians saw inherent flaws with how the measure was written and it did not pass. Cal/OSHA already requires condoms are used in adult films, with new regulations expected in 2017. The industry itself has also shown deep commitment to the health of its actors, adhering to a rigorous HIV and STI testing schedule.
Drug pricing for Californians remains the same as Proposition 61 doesn’t pass
San Francisco AIDS Foundation took a neutral position on Prop 61 due to some concerns on the measure’s long-term effects. However, even though it did not pass, it is clear the issue of prescription drug pricing is a major concern for California voters. We hope that lawmakers on both the state and federal level will continue to evaluate how pharmaceutical companies price the drugs that people depend on.
California becomes the latest state to legalize marijuana
Smoking marijuana became legal in the state of California shortly after Prop 64 passed on November 8th, with marijuana sales expected to become legal on January 1, 2018. However, there is some uncertainty as to how marijuana can legally be purchased in the state over the next 14 months. And although the current presidential administration has not been enforcing the federal ban on marijuana use, we don’t yet know how the incoming administration will deal with it.
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