National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Mental Health Association in California vs. Schwarzenegger

In November 2004, the voters of California enacted the Mental Health Services Act to increase mental health services in California. Two provisions contained in the act were that existing programs for mental health services had to be kept in place at the same effort as before the MHSA was enacted and that MHSA funds could not be used to fund pre-existing programs. One such program was the Integrated Services for Homeless Adults with Serious Mental Illness Program. The program provided homeless adults with serious mental illnesses with mental health services, job training, housing and other support services.

In August 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger eliminated the program through a line item veto, violating the provisions of the MHSA. MHSA funds were then released to participating counties to keep the programs running for a short period of time from the general funds of the MHSA, thus violating the non-supplantation clause of the MHSA.