Newsom’s Veto of AB 279 Was a Blatant Disregard for the Legislative Process

Newsom blatantly disregarded public sentiment and democratic legislative process:

A whopping 96% of the floor votes in both CA Houses was in favor of AB 279. Of the total number of votes in four legislative committees, AB 279 secured a bipartisan 87% of those votes.

AB 279 was propelled through the CA Legislature by a statewide and national grassroots effort to stop Pacifica Companies’ attacks on bilingual and bi-cultural health care for Japanese American and Japanese seniors.  Pacifica Companies, in their efforts to destroy the Sakura Intermediate Care Facility and its culturally appropriate care-giving for the Japanese American community was the driving force in opposition to AB 279, just as they were the primary inspiration for its crafting.

In their service to Pacifica, a tantamount concern of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF), which both function as direct proxies for for-profit operators, was to prevent the passage of AB 279 by any means necessary, which included both the fabrication of a “straw man” argument (alleged and unidentified operators needing to stay open in the face of economic hardship), the production of “financial threat” numbers never corroborated with factual data (they claimed a possible $442 million danger without substantiation that was repudiated by the Senate Committee on Appropriations) and the omission of factual data, such as failure to mention CDPH access to a reserve fund of over $3 million, a “Special Deposit Fund” in the State Treasury which is available to aid or even completely take over control of “bad actor” operators, or provide for aid to those in need.

But in addition to his nearly verbatim quote of CDPH falsehoods to justify his veto, Newsom blatantly disregarded public sentiment and democratic legislative process.  As posted previously on the SOSN website hompage, here is the recap of the bipartisan Legislative votes overridden by Newsom (in addition to support for AB 279 from the State Attorney General’s office):

11-2 vote Assembly Committee on Health (April 14)
12-4 vote Assembly Appropriations (April 28, after a previous 11-2 amendment vote April 14)
58-1 vote Assembly Floor (May 13)
10-0 vote in Senate Committee on Health (June 24)
6-0 vote Senate Appropriations (July 15)
32-3 Senate Floor vote victory (August 23)

Looked at another way, a whopping 96% of the floor votes in both CA Houses was in favor of AB 279.  And, of the total number of votes in four legislative committees, AB 279 secured a bipartisan 87% of those votes (“Ayes” vs. “Noes”).

This tabulation also does not include the unanimous and final 62-0 vote in Assembly Concurrence (August 30), which was the final vote to send the bill to Engrossing and Enrolling, which reviewed the bill prior to sending it to the Governor’s desk.

The prospects for a veto override by the legislature was very possible.  However, such an override vote would be hard to come buy if the Legislative session were already over and legislators no longer in Sacramento. Which is the likely reason why Newsom, under the probable guidance of CDPH/CAHF, delayed making the veto until the very late date of October 7.

Over 33 senior care advocacy organizations supported AB 279.  None opposed it.  Over 1000 personal letters appealing to legislators, and to Newsom directly, called for its passage.  Both Democratic and Republican Party elected officials stood up for the health interests of California seniors in the face of this horrific pandemic.

Gavin Newsom stands in opposition to the health and safety interests of California seniors and in opposition to bilingual/bi-cultural healthcare for Japanese American and Japanese seniors in particular. He, the California Department of Public Health, the California Association of Health Facilities and Pacifica Companies must be held accountable for their disservice to the public interest.

Please join SOSN and our allies as we continue to build a movement to counter this injustice, and to win equality in public health for Japanese American and Japanese seniors!

 

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