Budget and Bills

On this 129th day of the 83rd Legislature, find out some news on the conference committee budget decisions, as well as more bill updates.


On Monday, the budget conference committee met to adopt its Article II decisions, and it simply confirmed that this was a GREAT session for mental health and substance abuse services! While I was able to obtain information on the final items approved for these services, because the documents have not yet been publicly posted, I won’t be able to post the full list on this blog. However, I will share a few key items, particularly where there were differences in the House and Senate version:

  • Funding was approved for each of the previously explained items from DSHS’ mental health expansion plan. This includes funding for both school-based prevention and early identification services and a public awareness campaign, though the public awareness campaign was funded at a lower level than the Senate version proposed.
  • Funding to eliminate the children and adults mental health waiting list was reduced by $9 million to account for a revised estimate of the number of folks who currently are waiting for services.
  • Funding for each of the substance abuse items was approved, though the provider rate increase was lower than the Senate version proposed.
  • Funding for psychiatric residency positions was approved.
  • Funding for the Harris County Psychiatric Center was approved.
  • Funding for the Harris County Jail Diversion Project was approved (consistent with SB 1185).
  • Funding for a Jail-Based Competency Restoration program was approved (contingent on passage of SB 1475).

When the document becomes public, I will post the funding levels in full.  But if you can’t wait and want more specifics, just give me a call and I’ll share!  All in all, HOORAY for lots more mental health and substance abuse funding!

Stayin’ Alive

Last week was the deadline for house bills to be passed out of the House (and to some extent, for senate bills to be passed out of the Senate) in order to remain alive. Lots of bills died, but lots of bills are still alive. However, we have another round of deaths coming soon. This Saturday is the deadline for senate bills to be voted out of house committees (and to some extent, house bills out of senate committees), and Sunday is the last day the House Calendars Committee can meet to set bills for the Daily House Calendar. As I mentioned in my last post, next Tuesday and Wednesday present the final opportunity for ANY bill to be voted out of the House or Senate on second reading. So, while many bills are still alive, we’ll unfortunately have more deaths to report in a week.

Anyhoo, several good behavioral health bills are steadily making their way through the process, and some of them already are on their way to the Governor. Just a note about the categories I used below–the bills under the headline of “Passed Out of Opposite Chamber” are bills that have passed both chambers but were amended in the second chamber, so will have to go through a longer process (concurrence with the amendments added or appointment of a conference committee) before they are sent to the Governor. The bills that are “Headed to the Governor” remained unchanged in the second chamber and thus, barring a veto, are on their way to becoming law of the land!

Passed Out of Opposite Chamber Committee

HB 424
Relating to the sex offender status of a person who becomes a resident of certain group home facilities.

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

HB 807
Relating to the practice of psychology; authorizing a fee.

HB 808
Relating to the authority of a psychologist to delegate the provision of certain care to a person under the psychologist’s supervision, including a person training to become a psychologist.

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

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

HB 1396
Relating to a study on alcohol and controlled substance statistics prepared by the Department of Family and Protective Services and the Department of State Health Services.

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 44
Relating to maintaining and reporting certain information regarding certain child abuse or neglect cases and the provision of mental health services for children in those cases.

SB 58
Relating to the integration of behavioral health and physical health services into the Medicaid managed care program.

SB 126
Relating to the creation of a mental health and substance abuse public reporting system.

SB 152
Relating to the protection and care of persons who are elderly or disabled or who are children.

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 421
Relating to the Texas System of Care and the development of local mental health systems of care for certain children.

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

SB 718
Relating to voluntary and involuntary mental health services.

SB 831
Relating to a list of mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention programs that may be selected for implementation by public schools.

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

SB 944
Relating to criminal history record checks for certain employees of facilities licensed by the Department of State Health Services.

SB 1003
Relating to a review of and report regarding the use of adult and juvenile administrative segregation in facilities in this state.

SB 1185
Relating to the creation of a mental health jail diversion pilot program.

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

Passed Out of Chamber of Origination

HB 705
Relating to the definition of emergency services personnel for purposes of the enhanced penalty prescribed for an assault committed against a person providing services in that capacity.

HB 868
Relating to exceptions to mental health information disclosure prohibitions.

HB 1143
Relating to certain assessments for children in the conservatorship of the state.

HB 1396
Relating to a study on alcohol and controlled substance statistics prepared by the Department of Family and Protective Services and the Department of State Health Services.

HB 1856
Relating to the authority of a mental health facility to require a peace officer to transport a person apprehended for emergency detention to a medical facility to receive a medical evaluation before being transported to the mental health facility.

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 2240
Relating to a study on homeless youth.

HB 2625
Relating to disease management practices of local mental health authorities.

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

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.

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

SB 1304
Relating to school district reports concerning corporal punishment and the issuance of citations by a peace officer.

Passed Out of Opposite Chamber (Almost Headed to Governor)

HB 243
Relating to the authority of a community center that provides mental health or mental retardation services to sell certain real property of the center.

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

HB 1738
Relating to the emergency detention by a peace officer of a person who may have mental illness, including information provided to the person subject to detention and a standard form of notification of detention to be provided to a facility by a peace officer.

SB 715
Relating to use of consistent terminology to refer to school counselors in the Education Code.

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

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

Headed to the Governor

HB 144
Relating to a mental examination of a child subject to the juvenile justice system.

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

SB 50
Relating to the Children’s Policy Council, including the composition of the council.

SB 426
Relating to a home visiting program for at-risk families.

For a more in-depth look at these bills, check MHA’s bill tracker here.

‘Til next week!


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