Cal Cities backs Senator Eggman’s efforts to bring more changes to California's behavioral health care system

Mar 8, 2023

Cal Cities supports both proposed measures, SB 43 and SB 363.

Sen. Susan Eggman unveiled two bills last Wednesday that would further update California's behavioral health system: SB 43 and SB 363. The bills are supported by the League of California Cities, behavioral health advocates, and the Big City Mayors Coalition, which is sponsoring the measures.

SB 43 would update California's 1967 conservatorship law by expanding the definition of "gravely disabled" to include conditions that result in a substantial risk of serious harm to an individual's physical or mental health. The current law’s high threshold makes it difficult to provide treatment for individuals unable to care for themselves.   

SB 363 would establish a real-time, internet-based dashboard to collect, aggregate, and display information about available beds in psychiatric and substance abuse facilities. This easily accessible data would connect individuals to care more quickly and help cut down on extended emergency room stays.

Like many other health conditions, when mental illness and substance use are treated early and with appropriate supports and services, they are less disabling and result in fewer adverse outcomes.

Cal Cities is eager to again support efforts that would provide cities' most vulnerable residents with access to the behavioral health services they need. These proposals are consistent with Cal Cities 2023 Advocacy Priorities and budget asks, which seek to secure increased funding and resources to prevent homelessness and assist individuals experiencing homelessness.

Eggman, a clinical social worker, introduced similar measures last year. Her 2022 eight-bill legislative package was aimed at better coordinating existing programs to improve patient outcomes. Cal Cities supported all eight measures. Ultimately, only three were signed into law.

If your city would like to signal support for this legislation, consider submitting a city sample letter for SB 43 and SB 363. For more information about Cal Cities' advocacy efforts on these bills, please contact Legislative Affairs Lobbyist Caroline Cirrincione