Bleak State Budget Depends on Federal Help
Governor Newsom issued the May Revision of the 2020-21 state budget. Western Center’s analysis is available here. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the outlook is bleak, but not necessarily dire. Ironically, the biggest cuts are aimed at health care – particularly Medi-Cal for our state’s elders. Much of what will happen depends on the federal government, and the passage of the HEROES Act in Congress.
To help, contact your Congressional Representatives to demand more support for states during this time.
More Juvenile Fees Released in California
San Diego County voted unanimously to discharge more than $40 million in old juvenile fees for roughly 9,100 families – many of whom live at or below the poverty line. Only 18 of California’s 58 counties continue to seek payment from vulnerable families, with Orange and Tulare remaining the top holdouts, collecting almost $50 million combined.
Senate Bill 190, which Western Center co-sponsored, went into effect on January 1, 2018, and prohibited counties from charging families new juvenile fees, but it did not require counties to end collection of previously assessed fees. Most counties voluntarily discharged old fees, and our coalition advocacy continues to push counties that held out after SB 190 to discharge as well. We are co-sponsoring a bill in the California Legislature this year, SB 1290, which seeks to eliminate juvenile fees once and for all across the state.
Western Center Sues USDA Over Emergency Food Benefits
Western Center and Impact Fund sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for denying the lowest income SNAP food benefit recipients in California emergency food benefits, which Congress authorized in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The suit seeks an immediate injunction of USDA’s SNAP emergency allotment guidance. Our press release containing the complaint is available here.