Davis Removes State Funding from Drug Testing Bill; State Will Still Receive Federal Funds
Gov. Gray Davis (D) has vetoed a provision in a bill (SB 223) that would provide $9.8 million in state funding to pay for drug testing under Proposition 36, the Sacramento Bee reports. Proposition 36, the voter-approved initiative that sends nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders to treatment instead of jail time, did not provide any state money for drug testing, raising concerns among some people that there would be "no way" to perform the tests (Thompson, AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/12). The bill would have given counties $18 million, half of which would have come from the federal government, to perform drug tests on offenders sentenced through Proposition 36 (California Healthline, 10/9). Currently, seven of the state's 58 counties do not require drug tests for Proposition 36 offenders. The Bee reports that officials had said they believed those counties would "reconsider if state money became available." Although Davis said he "strongly support[s] drug testing as a component of substance abuse treatment," he added that he "had no choice" but to remove the state funding from the bill because "California's declining economy is jeopardizing the state's budget." In his veto message, Davis said the bill still allows for $8.4 million in federal funds, which should "be enough to pay" for drug testing. Davis also "promised" to include an unspecified amount of funding for drug testing in the 2002-2003 budget (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.