California Can’t Wait Coalition Hosts Successful Legislative Briefing

Today, the California Can’t Wait Coalition, led by CHEAC, HOAC, SEIU California, CSAC, Urban Counties of California (UCC), Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and Public Health Advocates, convened a legislative staff briefing to educate members of the Capitol community of the critical role of our local public health departments and essential workers. The event additionally highlighted the coalition’s legislative and budget priorities, including an investment of $200 million ongoing state General Fund for local health department infrastructure and workforce and support of AB 240 (Rodriguez) and $3.45 million to support the assessment of workforce and infrastructure needs of local health departments statewide.

Today’s briefing featured Assembly Member Jim Wood who is championing the coalition’s budget request for significant investments into the state’s public health infrastructure. Assembly Member Wood highlighted the critical work of local health departments statewide, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, and discussed the urgent need to sustainably fund public health activities.

CHEAC Vice President and Riverside County Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari and Placer County Health and Human Services Director and Interim Health Officer Rob Oldham discussed the services and functions of local health departments, as well as local challenges resulting from a lack of adequate and sustained funding for public health. Numerous frontline public health workers from Fresno, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego counties discussed their work in public health and the services delivered to their communities, highlighting the need for additional infrastructure investments into California’s local health departments.

More information about our coalition’s request is available here and available here. A recording of today’s legislative staff briefing is available here; the password to access the recording is nDX08.6p