IN THE LOOP
The news you need to know this week
Welcome to the latest edition of our update on the news you need to know and how it affects you and the communities we serve. Every couple of weeks we send out an e-mail featuring important updates, and you can sign up below! As always, thank you for your support of APLA Health, and please share this with others who may be interested.
Let’s End HIV Stigma: Tell Governor Brown to Modernize Outdated HIV Laws
California has outdated laws on the books that unfairly criminalize and stigmatize people living with HIV. Most of these laws were passed in the late 1980s when much less was known about HIV and fear of those living with the disease was extremely high. Under some of these laws, people living with HIV can face felony prosecution even when there is no risk of transmission. Governor Brown now has an opportunity to fix these outdated and discriminatory laws.
SB 239, cosponsored by APLA Health and several other organizations, would update California’s HIV criminal laws and ensure they reflect a modern understanding of HIV transmission and prevention. The bill would repeal several laws that unfairly target people living with HIV for criminal prosecution and address HIV in the same way as other serious communicable diseases.
SB 239 passed with bipartisan support in the State Assembly and Senate. Governor Brown now has until October 15 to sign or veto the bill.
Please call and tweet Governor Brown TODAY and urge him to sign this historic bill. It’s easy using the “Click to Contact” mobilization tool where you will find a call script and sample tweets.
Las Vegas Tragedy: Another Public Health Disaster
Just over a year ago, APLA Health condemned the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and commended the American Medical Association for calling out gun violence as a “public health crisis” in the United States.
At the time the Pulse shooting was the largest mass shooting in modern American history. Now we have Las Vegas. What’s next? We mourn, flags are at half-staff, and politicians pray; yet nothing happens to keep these tragedies from reoccurring. Gun violence has become a routine public health crisis in America.
You can help. A Clark County Commissioner has set up a relief fund for victims of the shooting: gofundme.com/dr2ks2-las-vegas-victims-fund.
You can also call your member of Congress. Add your voice to the chorus calling for reasonable and effective gun control, such as universal background checks and no gun purchases by people on the terrorist no-fly list. You can also ask them to get rid of the Dickey Amendment, a federal law that has been used since the 1990s to prohibit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from doing research on the connection between gun violence and public health.
Toll-free Capitol Switchboard: 866-220-0044
Governor Brown Signs Package of Bills to Combat California’s Affordable Housing Crisis
Last Friday Governor Jerry Brown signed an historic package of 15 bills aimed at tackling California’s affordable housing and homeless crises.
The bills will address the state’s lack of affordable housing through a multifaceted approach, including:
- creating new funding streams to subsidize housing for low-income individuals and families,
- streamlining zoning and other building requirements to make it easier and faster to build affordable housing,
- strengthening “anti-NIMBY” policies that have historically made it more difficult to build in some locations, and
- establishing several other accountability measures for cities that will increase the stock of affordable homes.
Of note, SB 2 will generate $250 million annually from fees on some real-estate documents, which will be used to construct and subsidize affordable units, and SB 3 will place a $4 billion affordable housing bond on the 2018 ballot, including $1 billion for veterans.
The passage of these bills reflects an immense community effort—including months and months of advocating and negotiating with legislators—and is being framed as a turning point in California’s efforts to address the affordable housing crisis. APLA Health hopes the legislature won’t stop here and will continue to work to address the state’s housing crisis. The lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles County has a huge impact on people living with and at risk of HIV and successful implementation of these bills will not only increase access to affordable housing and help combat homelessness, but move California closer to ending the HIV epidemic. You can find a helpful overview of all 15 bills here.
Stay in the loop!
We will send you regular updates on issues and policies affecting the LGBT and/or HIV communities and urge you to call or e-mail your representatives about key political activity at the local, state, and federal levels.