Measure Creating L.A. City Health Commission Becomes Law

LOS ANGELES — A measure creating a Los Angeles City Health Commission to oversee delivery of health services to City of L.A. residents became law today after it passed the 10-day deadline for mayoral action.

Two weeks ago, the L.A. City Council voted unanimously to adopt the measure, which first came before the Council in response to a ballot initiative spearheaded by five health and policy advocates affiliated with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). The ballot measure, which would have likely appeared on the November 2014 election ballot, would have allowed L.A. voters to weigh in on creating such a Los Angeles City Health Commission.

Instead, on May 27, 15 City Council members adopted the measure outright as written and submitted to voters for signature. Under the L.A. City Charter [Article II. Section 250. Sub (b)], the ordinance is then presented to the Mayor and, “…If the Mayor does not approve or veto an ordinance in accordance with this section within ten days after its presentation to him or her, the ordinance shall be as effective as if signed by the Mayor.”

Since L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti did not sign or veto the measure, it is now law.

“There is a truly new day dawning in the City and County of Los Angeles as a result of this L.A. City Health Commission measure becoming law today,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative.

“This commission offers a golden opportunity for increased accountability to City officials — and residents — regarding health services provided to city residents. This commission could and should be a partnership that improves health outcomes while better targeting and deploying health services to city residents. We are thrilled with its adoption into law and pledge to monitor its creation and progress over the coming months and years.”

L.A. County currently provides health services in 85 of the 88 cities in the County — including the City of Los Angeles — which represents 40 percent of the population of the County. The advocates behind the ballot measure believe that City of Los Angeles residents are often short-changed in health services provided by the County and believe a City Health Commission might provide a new level of accountability and oversight.

The L.A. City Health Commission will be composed of 15 members appointed by the members of the City Council. The Commission will be required to publish an annual health services plan regarding the health needs and goals of the City and also require the City Council to consider and respond to the Commission’s annual health services plan at a public meeting.