This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
If you think this is a good time for the state to spend millions of dollars it doesn’t have on something it doesn’t need, Initiative 1163 is your baby.
Otherwise, kill this measure and let lawmakers try to do damage control on the state’s recession-stricken budget without the interference of another unfunded mandate.
I-1163 is a stinker wrapped up in pretty paper with a bow on top. Pushed by the Service Employees International Union, it purports to address a supposed epidemic of abuse in adult family homes and other long-term care settings.
To this end, it would require that the aides who work in those places get 75 hours of training – as opposed to the current 34 – and federal background checks.
These provisions actually are already state law; they were enacted in 2008 when voters approved Initiative 1029. The Legislature has twice pushed the effective dates down the road to postpone the measure’s administrative, training and federal screening costs.
Legislators kicked the can for good reason: The original initiative – like the current one – included no revenues to pay for itself. It may have looked like a freebie to voters, but it demanded that tens of millions of dollars be sucked out of existing programs.
Budget writers who knew the issue – and were struggling to spare such fundamentals as education, child protective services and necessary protection of people with disabilities – had no problem putting the initiative on hold.
Read more »