State and Local Updates: Part 2

Well, I don’t have any more local updates (at least that I can share…yet!), but I’ve got some more budget news and the much-awaited bill tracker!

Behavioral Health and the Budget

I’ve already laid out the Senate mental health and substance abuse budget recommendations for the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), but below you can find out about the House recommendations, as well as a few other behavioral health-related budget items of interest. These include:

House Appropriations Committee Mental Health Recommendations (DSHS)

  • $20 million to reduce (not eliminate) the statewide waiting list for adult mental health services
  • $2 million for beds to prevent the relinquishment of parental custody to DFPS

House Appropriations Committee Substance Abuse Recommendations (DSHS)

  • $4.9 million to eliminate the 948-person statewide waiting list for substance abuse services
  • $5 million for substance abuse services for individuals referred by DFPS
  • $1.1 million for expansion of the Oxford House model across Texas

Other House Appropriations Committee Behavioral Health-Related Recommendations

  • $39 million for restoration of most of the funding cuts to the Prevention and Early Intervention Service programs (Services to At-Risk Youth, Community Youth Development, Texas families, and other prevention programs)
  • $545,761 to restore funding for the statewide coordination of the Community Resource Coordinating Groups and a statewide data reporting tool
  • $6 million to expand the Texas Corrctional Office on Offenders with Medical and Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI) caseload of adults with serious mental illness
  • $15.2 million for the hiring of mental health professionals in each juvenile probation facility

Other Senate Finance Committee Behavioral Health-Related Recommendations

  • $10.4 million to partially restore funding cuts to Communities in Schools
  • $850,000 for behavioral health personnel to assist soldiers and airmen through the Family Support Services Group (Adjutant General’s Department)
  • $6 million to expand the TCOOMMI caseload of adults with serious mental illness
  • $15.2 million for the hiring of mental health professionals in each juvenile probation facility

While the House still needs to come a long way in increasing funding for mental health and substance abuse community services, it is good to know that these issues are still being addressed in other areas of the budget!

Bills, Bills Coming Out of My Ears!

Well, a few folks have been asking for the updated bill chart, and you can find it here in all of its glory! March 8th was the bill filing deadline, and almost 2,600 bills–or about 44% of total bills–were filed last week! That made for a long weekend and is at least partially responsible for the delay in getting this out for public consumption. But, I’m sure you’ll all forgive me!

MHA is now tracking over 200 bills and will update them weekly. Please note that we will only be tracking the major actions of bills, e.g. when they are voted out of committee and voted out of a chamber. We will not include when a bill is set for hearing or when it’s set to be heard on the floor.  However, on some legislation MHA is supporting, you will see Action Alerts when a bill is set for Floor debate. All of that being said, let’s check out some of the major mental health and substance abuse bills filed last week:

HB 2625 by Coleman, which expands the Priority Population served by LMHAs to include single episode or recurrent major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoid disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, dysthymia, attention deficit disorder, or tic disorder/tourette’s syndrome;

HB 2881 by Toth, which creates the Task Force to Reduce the Habitual Incidents of Driving While Intoxicated to study and make recommendations regarding best practices to reduce habitual incidents of driving while intoxicated, as well as fatalities related to driving while intoxicated;

HB 2887 by Davis, which requires DSHS to make Haven for Hope-like grants to local entities to coordinate services for homeless individuals, people with mental illness, and people with substance use disorders.

HB 3003 by Allen, which requires school districts to establish a program to help students transition back into school after being placed in a DAEP, JAEP, TJJD or juvenile probation facility, residential treatment center or public or private placement for 30 or more instructional days;

HB 3326 by Coleman, which requires a private group health plan, including those for small employers, to provide health insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders as defined by the DSM;

HB 3632 by Canales, which requires certain minors convicted of alcohol- or drug-related offenses to take an alcohol awareness program or a drug, alcohol, and substance abuse education program as a condition of community supervision;

HB 3635 by McClendon, which requires school districts to employ a licensed psychologist or licensed professional counselor on each campus in the school district and allows school districts to receive state aid in an amount necessary to carry out these requirements;

HB 3684 by Naishtat, which updates the current Texas Integrated Funding Initiative Consortium statute by giving the consortium responsibility to oversee a state system of care for minors receiving inpatient mental health services, or who are at risk of being placed in a more restrictive environment to receive mental health services;

HB 3692 by Branch, which changes the Primary Care Residency Program to the Graduate Medical Education Program and expands it to include psychiatry and surgery

SB 1114 by Whitmire, which allows a county, municipality or justice or municipal court to employ case managers to provide intervention services to youths at-risk of juvenile justice involvement; prohibits peace officers from issuing citations to students who commit offenses; establishes progressive sanctions for a student before a school district may file a complaint against the student in criminal court;

SB 1178 by Deuell, which requires that school districts train teachers, principals, counselors and all other appropriate school district personnel in how to recognize and appropriately respond to students exhibiting signs of mental illness or of being at risk of suicide

SB 1185 by Huffman, which Requires DSHS to establish and operate a mental health jail diversion pilot program in Harris County for between 500 and 600 individuals using the Critical Time Intervention model;

SB 1291 by Ellis, which makes the possession of a trace amount of a controlled substance a Class C Misdemeanor;

SB 1356 by Van de Putte, which requires juvenile probation officers, detention officers, and court-supervised community-based program staff to receive training in trauma-informed care; and

SB 1477 by Deuell, which requires HHSC to negotiate with the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services for flexibility in the Texas Medicaid program and in obtaining a block grant to cover the Medicaid expansion population under the ACA through premium assistance for the purchase of private health insurance coverage.

In addition, the following bills have been voted out of committee:

HB 144
HB 243
HB 424
HB 473
HB 617
HB 807
HB 808
HB 838
HB 908
SB 715

Remember, you can track all these bills, read their text and find out MHA’s position on them by using our trusty bill chart!

Until I post again…


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