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The governor’s recent cuts of $82 million to HIV prevention, care, and treatment have taken us back to the dark days of the AIDS epidemic. Now more than ever, we must fight back!

Please join this candlelight vigil in solidarity and to mourn the loss of vital services for persons living with HIV/AIDS throughout California.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Gather at Pershing Square by 7:00 pm
March to the Reagan State Building to follow

Please bring candles and wear a red shirt. There is self-pay parking under Pershing Square and in surrounding parking lots. The site is also right above the  Metro Red Line’s Pershing Square Stop.

Governor Schwarzenegger and state legislators failed to reach a compromise last night, as Califronia began the 2009-10 fiscal year without a budget deal.

According to John Myers at Capitol Notes, the  $3.3 billion in missed education savings from last night’s vote is now being estimated as adding another $8 billion to the state budget woes, due to Prop 98 requirements.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the new deficit number will be roughly $26.3 billion, about $2 billion higher than the governor’s May budget. State Controller John Chiang will start issuing IOUs in the form of registered warrants to state vendors; these warrants will not be redeemable until October 1st, and only if the State has enough cash to cover the amount of the warrants. Medi-Cal providers are listed as receiving regular warrants which can be redeemed immediately. For more information on the IOUs, check out the Controller’s FAQ Page here.

The Governor declared a new state of fiscal emergency earlier today and  launched another special session. Online now is a new July Revision that includes new budget solutions, in addition to those included in the May Revision.

The May Revision originally included more than $80 million in cuts to HIV programs. The status of the Budget Committee’s compromise package– which includes a significantly reduced set of reductions to HIV programs– remains unclear.

In case you missed it: Assembly Access, a YouTube account provided by California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and the Assembly Democratic Caucus, features footage of press conferences, testimony, rallies, speeches, and special interviews will be made available. Their June 10th Assembly Web Report features Lynnea Garbett’s testimony before the Budget  Conference Committee. Here’s the description of the video:

(Sacramento) – FIGHTING FOR OUR FAMILIES—In this Assembly Web Report we hear from ordinary, hard-working Californians, “Real People”, who discuss the life-threatening situations that would occur if state-funded safety net programs are eliminated, as the governor has proposed. A 24 year old woman born HIV positive who says the Governors proposal will cut her off from lifesaving anti-viral drugs. A working mother describes the ordeal of what would happen if her familys health coverage and basic services are eliminated; a young single mother who receives Cal-Works pleads that the state not eliminate the program that allows her to work and take care of her family. These individuals are representative of hundreds of thousands of Californians who play by the rules, work hard and will potentially lose everything if Californias safety net is destroyed.

Thanks to Jeff Hall at San Francisco AIDS Foundation for forwarding this to us.

Palm Springs Rally

On June 10th, hundreds of people gathered at the corner of Vista Chino and Sunrise Way in Palm Springs to join the statewide protest against the Governor’s proposed cuts to HIV programs. The event was covered extensively by the media, including KPSP and The Desert Sun.

More photos of the event can be found here. Courtesty of Peter deMartino of Desert AIDS Project.

Your passion and activism have made a difference! Kaiser Health News reported today that the Budget Conference Committee rejected a number of Governor’s Schwarzenegger’s most extreme proposals that would have decimated essential services, including cuts to HIV programs.

The committee voted to reduce the $80.1 million proposal, which have decimated programs such as HIV/AIDS education & prevention, HIV testing, treatment services, and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, by roughly $50 million, to $33.5 million. For the full story, click here.

The fight isn’t over yet. Republican legislators and the Governor have already stated that they would not support Democrats’ proposals for new levies essential in balancing the budget. We need you to stay engaged in the next few weeks, as the budget battle intensifies.

Fresno1

We completely missed this one: people turned out in force on Monday in downtown Fresno to protest the draconian cuts to HIV programs. KMPH Fox-26 covered the event, and interviewed some of the protesters, including long-time survivor Theresa Camarillo:

“We’re very blessed, without these services I just don’t know where we’re going to be at in the next 25 years,” said Theresa Camarillo who has lived with HIV for 23 years, her daughter for 13 years… thanks in part to programs that help her pay for her medications.

“The meds that we take are very costly…with budget cuts, how are we going to pay for those meds that sustain our lives?” asked Camarillo.

Below are a couple more screen captures from the protest, courtesy of KMPH. You can read the full story and watch the video here.

Fresno2

Picture 2

The Night Before…

Thanks to everyone who’s making the trek up to Sacramento to raise their voices against the life-threatening cuts to HIV programs. We’ve been hard at work these last few days to ensure that the event is a success. The buses from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other areas have all been filled. Other resourceful people are carpooling to the Capitol, while others are staging their own protests in their own cities, such as in San DiegoSan Francisco and Palm Springs.

It’s important that we keep fighting these harmful attempts to cut state HIV programs. If you haven’t already, call your state Assemblymember or Senator. Tell them how the cuts will personally impact you or someone you know. Urge them to oppose cuts to life-saving medications, HIV prevention programs, HIV testing, and all the other programs.

Your voice can make a difference!

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