May 05, 2022

Backers of California Pandemic Detection and Prevention Act Submit over 1.5M Signatures to Qualify Initiative for November Ballot

Initiative earns support from U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, the California Medical Association and public health worker unions

Every County, CA – The Californians Against Pandemics campaign submitted over 1.5 million signatures to elections offices in every California county this week – far more than the 997,139 needed to qualify the measure for the November 2022 ballot. The measure will prepare and protect the state against the next emergent disease by generating up to $1.5 billion annually for 10 years to fund early disease detection science, modernize state and local public health services, and fund upgrades for pandemic-related public school infrastructure.

“Public health organizations and research scientists are excited to team up with California voters to pass this initiative and make California a national leader in pandemic preparedness,” said campaign co-chair Gabe Bankman-Fried of the nonprofit public health group Guarding Against
Pandemics. “Together, we can reduce the harm of future pandemics by detecting and stopping transmission early, before large-scale lockdowns are required, and reducing the pain and suffering that pandemics bring to us all.”

The California Pandemic Detection and Prevention Act asks voters to pass a small, temporary income tax increase (0.75%) on the wealthiest Californians – those with incomes over $5 million – to create a reliable funding source for research into the cutting-edge scientific technology
necessary to create an early-warning system to detect, prevent and defeat biological threats before they become pandemics. Additionally, the Act will boost funding for local public health efforts that were stretched thin fighting COVID-19 and improve school infrastructure in order to
keep students safe.

Supporters of this measure include frontline workers, health officers, doctors, educators and scientific experts committed to preventing the next pandemic including United States Senator Alex Padilla, State Senator and Chair of the Committee on Health Dr. Richard Pan, Assemblymember Matt Haney, the California Medical Association, County Health Executives Association of California, American Nurses Association - California, UNITE HERE! Local 11 and The Health Officers Association of California (HOAC).

“Future pandemics are inevitable and we need to make sure California is prepared,” said Senator Padilla. “The California Pandemic Early Detection and Prevention Act will make critically-needed investments in the tools we need to detect and stop the next threat – through early disease detection and prevention, by modernizing our state and local public health departments to allow for faster containment, and with infrastructure upgrades to make our public schools safer and healthier for all California students.”

“As a public health advocate and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, I am proud to endorse this initiative that invests in public health and scientific research to enable early detection of dangerous contagions and save lives from future pandemics,” said Dr. Richard Pan, State Senator.
“Finding and containing infections early before they spread widely saves lives and money.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the cost of not having a robust public health system in place,” said California Medical Association President Dr. Robert E. Wailes. “The California Medical Association is in strong support of the California Pandemic Early Detection and
Prevention Initiative because everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life. This initiative will modernize local public health departments across our state and invest in science and technology to detect, prevent and defeat diseases before they can cause a deadly and devastating pandemic."

Elections officials across the state are in the process of reviewing the signatures to verify the initiative qualifies for the ballot. After their work is done, on June 30, 2022, the Secretary of State will certify and announce that the initiative is eligible and qualified for the November 2022 General Election ballot.

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