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Mayor Gloria Applauds Governor for Signing Conservatorship Reform Bill into Law


October 10, 2023


SAN DIEGO –  Gov. Gavin Newsom made history today by signing Senate Bill 43, legislation authored by Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) that will modernize California’s mental health conservatorship laws and make it easier to get severely mentally ill and addicted people the help they need.  

SB 43 was sponsored by the California Big City Mayors, a coalition of the state’s 13 largest cities, chaired by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.  

“With today’s signing of Senate Bill 43, Gov. Gavin Newsom once again demonstrated his steadfast commitment to meaningfully addressing California’s mental health and addiction crises,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “SB 43 will help us reach a small, but very visible, segment of our homeless population who up until now have been allowed to languish on the streets, often dying alone and forgotten by society. SB 43 will save lives. "

“I want to offer my most sincere gratitude to Sen. Susan Eggman, who refused to give up on these very sick Californians,” Mayor Gloria added. “Due to her persistence and tenacity, conservatorship laws that have not been updated since the 1960s now can finally help us address 21st century challenges.”  

Mayor Gloria called on the State Legislature to reform California’s conservatorship laws in his 2022 State of the City address and has been aggressively advocating for these reforms ever since.   

“California is undertaking a major overhaul of our mental health system,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “The mental health crisis affects us all, and people who need the most help have been too often overlooked. We are working to ensure no one falls through the cracks, and that people get the help they need and the respect they deserve." 

Currently, mental health conservatorships can be used only when a person is a danger to themselves or others, or cannot provide for their food, shelter or clothing. SB 43 expands eligibility for conservatorship to situations where people cannot manage their medical care or personal safety. It also adds substance-use disorders in addition to mental illness as an applicable condition.   

“Passing conservatorship reform has been one of the most significant and worthwhile challenges during my time in the Legislature, and I am grateful for the passionate support of Mayor Gloria and the Big City Mayors coalition,” Sen. Susan Eggman said. “SB 43 will be a game-changer and a lifesaver for seriously ill Californians and their families.” 

SB 43 comes on the heels of last year’s passage of CARE Court, also championed by Mayor Gloria and the California Big City Mayors, which will guarantee services for those in crisis before their needs are so great that have to be conserved because they’re unable to care for themselves.  

“I’ve watched in agony as my son has lived on the streets, periodically getting arrested and spending more time in jail and prison than he ever has in a hospital,” said Anita Fisher, the mother of an adult son who's been living with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorder for the past 24 years. “Like many people with untreated mental illness, my son didn't know he needed help. We tried to get him into involuntary care to compel his treatment, but we were told he didn't meet the criteria for being ‘gravely disabled.’ I am so grateful that the state's conservatorship laws are finally being modernized so families like mine can get our loved ones the help they need.” 

SB 43 was also sponsored by the state’s two leading psychiatry associations and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – California (NAMI). It was supported by the California Professional Firefighters. 

The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.