Back After a Hiatus

Lots has been going on over the past couple of weeks, so we won’t cover EVERYTHING in this post, but will share a budget update, more on the Mental Health Improvement and Awareness Act, and as always, bill updates.

Budget Moving Forward

Both the House and Senate have appointed members to the conference committee to iron out differences in the budget bill. The conferees are:

Senate: Tommy Williams, Juan Hinojosa, Robert Duncan, Jane Nelson, John Whitmire
House: Jim Pitts, Myra Crownover, John Otto, Sylvester Turner, John Zerwas

Sen. Nelson and Rep. Zerwas are the two members responsible for Article 2, which covers health and human services. All conference committee decisions are expected to be completed by the end of next week.

As we’ve covered extensively in this blog, the total behavioral health funding differences between the House and Senate are not very significant.  However, a few of the key differences include:

  • The Senate adds $2 million for psychiatric residency positions in state hospitals while the House does not
  • The Senate increases funding for crisis services by $30 million while the House increases it by $25 million
  • The Senate funds prevention and early intervention and public awareness at a combined level of $6 million while the House does not include funding for either
  • The Senate adds $30.4 million for a substance abuse provider rate increase, expanding the Oxford House model, setting aside DFPS slots and addressing the waiting list while the House adds just $15.9 million
  • The House increases funding for collaborative, Haven for Hope-like projects by $25 million, while the Senate increases it by $15 million
  • The House adds $2.4 million for the Harris County Psychiatric Center while the Senate does not

For more behavioral health side-by-side comparisons across all articles, check out the Legislative Budget Board Issue Docket here.

Mental Health Improvement and Awareness Act Has Overwhelming Support, But…

On April 18th, amid the many failed amendments to the background check/school violence bill, an amendment that included the language of the Mental Health Improvement and Awareness Act (MHIAA) actually was adopted by a vote of 95-2.  However, because the bill subsequently was pulled down, the future of MHIAA is unknown.  Several senators have expressed a desire to see the bill move forward separate from the gun control debate (Amen to that!), so we’ll see what the leadership decides to do in the coming weeks.  At the very least, it’s good to know that the bill has overwhelming support in the upper chamber.

Behavioral Health Legislation

Well, since it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve last posted, legislation is really piling up!  Dozens of mental health and substance abuse bills are steadily moving through the process, including the following:


HB 517
Relating to the eligibility of inmates convicted of certain intoxication offenses for release on parole or mandatory supervision. 

HB 617
Relating to transition and employment services for public school students enrolled in special education programs. 

HB 646
Relating to the requirements for members appointed to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

HB 705
Relating to enhanced penalties for assault of emergency room personnel.

HB 908
Relating to the assessment of an elderly or disabled person’s psychological status for purposes of an emergency order authorizing protective services.

HB 915
Relating to the administration and monitoring of health care provided to foster children.

HB 978
Relating to the transportation of certain patients to a mental health facility.

HB 1023
Relating to the creation of a task force to investigate and make recommendations regarding mental health workforce shortages.

HB 1191
Relating to certain information about housing for persons with mental illness provided through the Texas Information and Referral Network Internet site.

HB 1739
Relating to the administration of psychoactive medications to persons receiving services in certain facilities.

HB 1952
Relating to professional development training for certain public school personnel regarding student disciplinary procedures.

HB 2392
Relating to the mental health program for veterans.

SB 34
Relating to the administration of psychoactive medications to persons receiving services in certain facilities.

SB 263
Relating to the designation for criminal prosecution and other purposes of certain chemicals commonly referred to as synthetic cannabinoids as controlled substances and controlled substance analogues under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

SB 264
Relating to the addition of certain substances to Penalty Groups 1-A and 2 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act for criminal prosecution and other purposes.

SB 418
Relating to a notification requirement if a public school campus or open-enrollment charter school does not have a nurse assigned to the campus during all instructional hours.

SB 646
Relating to court-ordered outpatient mental health services.

SB 861
Relating to requiring certain notices to be posted on the premises of certain alcoholic beverage retailers.

SB 913
Relating to the reexamination of an applicant for a professional counselor license.

SB 914
Relating to a behavior improvement plan adopted for certain students with an individualized education program.

SB 937
Relating to the authority of a peace officer to apprehend a person for emergency detention and the authority of certain facilities to temporarily detain a person with mental illness.

SB 955
Relating to the training of employees of local mental health authorities and certain educators in mental health first aid and the establishment of the mental health first aid fund.

SB 1003
Relating to the creation of the Adult and Juvenile Administrative Segregation Task Force.

SB 1189
Relating to the disposition of certain firearms seized by a law enforcement agency. 

SB 1356
Relating to requiring trauma-informed care training for certain staff of county and state juvenile facilities.

SB 1475
Relating to the development and use of a jail-based restoration of competency pilot program.


HB 205
Relating to the allocation of beds in and the commitment of certain persons to certain mental health facilities.

HB 1012
Relating to the elements of and punishment for the offense of providing an alcoholic beverage to a minor.

HB 1013
Relating to civil liability for the provision of an alcoholic beverage to a minor.

HB 1070
Relating to the expunction of certain alcohol- and drug-related offenses following successful treatment and rehabilitation.

HB 1143
Relating to certain mental health and medical services for children in foster care and the conservatorship of the state, including the administration of psychotropic drugs.

HB 1396
Relating to alcohol and controlled substance statistics compiled and reported by the Department of Family and Protective Services.

HB 1743
Relating to the prosecution of certain offenses involving controlled substances and other prohibited drugs, substances, or paraphernalia.

HB 1853
Relating to a behavior improvement plan adopted for certain students with an individualized education program.

HB 1856
Relating to a peace officer’s determination whether medical services are needed for persons apprehended for emergency detention. 

HB 2038
Relating to addressing disproportionality and disparities in the education, juvenile justice, child welfare, health, and mental health systems, the continuation and operation of the Interagency Council for Addressing Disproportionality, and the duties of the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities.

HB 2349
Relating to alternate methods for providing mental health and related services to certain defendants found incompetent to stand trial or acquitted by reason of insanity in a criminal case. 

HB 2407
Relating to restoration of a person’s right to purchase a firearm on termination of a guardianship.

HB 2418
Relating to the penalties for the production or delivery of marihuana plants.

HB 2572
Relating to the qualifications of certain experts authorized to examine a defendant and testify as to the issue of the defendant’s sanity or insanity in a criminal case.

HB 2652
Relating to providing inmates of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with information regarding reentry and reintegration resources.

HB 2887
Relating to the establishment of community collaboratives by local entities to provide services to and coordinate the care of persons who are homeless, persons with mental illness, and persons with substance abuse problems.

HB 2914
Relating to the penalty for possession of certain small amounts of controlled substances in Penalty Group 1.

HB 3227
Relating to coverage of certain eating disorders as serious mental illnesses under certain group health benefit plans.

HB 3327

Relating to a list of mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention programs that may be selected for implementation by public schools.

HB 3632
Relating to a mandatory drug, alcohol, and substance abuse education program for certain minors convicted of, or placed on deferred disposition or community supervision for, certain drug or alcohol related offenses; authorizing a fee.

HB 3731
Relating to the date of a hearing on an application for an order to authorize psychoactive medication for a person receiving inpatient mental health services.

HB 3791
Relating to the creation of a “Texas” solution to issues related to Medicaid, including flexibility in the administration of the Medicaid program, tailored to the needs of the state.

HB 3809
Relating to use of consistent terminology to refer to school counselors in the Education Code. 

SB 44
Relating to maintaining and reporting certain information regarding certain child abuse or neglect cases.

SB 50 (Out of House Committee)
Relating to the Children’s Policy Council, including the composition of the council.

SB 338
Relating to the liability of certain social workers who provide volunteer health care services to charitable organizations.

SB 426 (Out of House Committee)
Relating to a home visiting program for at-risk families.

SB 460
Relating to inclusion of instruction in the detection and education of students with mental or emotional disorders in the requirements for educator training programs.

SB 462 (Out of House Committee)
Relating to specialty court programs in this state.

SB 898 (Out of House Committee)
Relating to the mental health program for veterans.

SB 913
Relating to the reexamination of an applicant for a professional counselor license.

SB 925
Relating to a license requirement for licensed professional counselors employed by school districts.

SB 1114 (Out of House Committee)
Relating to the prosecution of certain misdemeanor offenses committed by children and to school district law enforcement.

For more in-depth information on filed behavioral health legislation, check out MHA’s bill tracker here.


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