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Force Counties to Pay For Prop.
Matching Requirement Raises
Legal, Fiscal Questions; Casts Future
of Drug Treatment Program into Doubt
Could Decriminalize Drugs in Counties
That Don’t Pay
Dave Fratello (310) 394-2952 or Margaret
Dooley (858) 336-3685
2 - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger plans
to force counties to pay a share of Prop.
36 drug treatment costs, or they will
receive no money from the state for the
program. The sponsors of the 2000 ballot
measure today said the governor’s
proposal poses several legal problems,
is sure to be resisted by county governments,
and threatens to decriminalize drugs in
counties that do not contribute to Prop.
Margaret Dooley, Prop.
36 statewide coordinator for the Drug
Policy Alliance, said, “The governor
has already proposed slashing Prop. 36
treatment funds this year, but requiring
counties to match funds guarantees that
treatment will be less available than
it is today—and could even vanish
in some counties. The governor’s
plan is a brazen slap in the face to the
voters, who overwhelmingly enacted Prop.
36 and who support it to this day. This
is yet another challenge to the voters’
intent by a governor who is already in
litigation over changes to Prop. 36 that
he demanded last year.”
In budget trailer bill
language released this morning, the administration
proposes changes to a one-year-old fund
known as the Offender Treatment Program
(OTP), a supplemental fund created last
June by the Legislature, that would allow
the OTP fund to become the principal funding
channel for all Prop. 36-related program
funds. The governor has already vowed
to make OTP the sole source of Prop. 36
funds, while ending all funding of the
Prop. 36 trust fund set up by the initiative,
in his May budget revisions. The OTP fund
now requires counties to put in $1 for
every $9 received from the state, a rule
the governor does not propose to change.
Dave Fratello, co-author
of Prop. 36, said, “The governor’s
proposals echo the failed effort by Gov.
Gray Davis to make Prop. 36 a county responsibility
through ‘realignment.’ There
is no avoiding the fact that Prop. 36
is a state program, and a voter-mandated
one at that. Counties would be on solid
legal ground to challenge this proposal,
as one might expect they will.”
Fratello said, “The
county matching requirement might sound
reasonable, but we know that there are
counties that cannot or will not contribute.
What happens then? Prop. 36 says people
have a right to treatment, or they cannot
be incarcerated. So what the governor
is proposing is really a gradual, county-by-county
decriminalization of drug use in California.”
Last year, the Legislature
approved $145 million in total for Prop.
36-related programs, $120 million through
the initiative’s trust fund and
$25 million in challenge grants through
the new OTP program. The governor proposes
$120 million in total funding for FY 2007-08,
a 17% cut from last year, and at least
$90 million less than was projected to
be necessary in an analysis last year
by treatment and probation associations.
Though the governor’s
January proposal divides the money 50/50
between the two Prop. 36-related funds,
the budget clearly states that all $120
million will go through OTP if the state
has not, by May, emerged victorious in
litigation related to changes to Prop.
36 demanded by the governor last year.
Resolution of the case by then is considered
Prop. 36 Background
Prop. 36 was approved
by 61 percent of voters in November 2000.
A June 2004 poll by the Field Institute
showed support for the law at 73 percent.
Nearly 12,000 people have successfully
completed substance treatment during each
year of Prop. 36’s existence, putting
the program on track to graduate 72,000
Californians in its first six years.
by researchers at the University of California
at Los Angeles show that for every $1
invested in Prop. 36, the state saves
$2.50. For program completers, every $1
invested leads to $4 in savings. In the
program’s first five years, taxpayer
savings reached $1.3 billion, according
to figures from the Justice Policy Institute.
A recent UCLA analysis on Prop. 36 cost
savings showed that the state enjoys 93%
of the savings from Prop. 36, with counties
receiving the remaining 7%.
36 Fact Sheet
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