The official legislative session ends Wednesday. While budget negotiations are going to have to continue in a special session, the legislature is busy now working through pending bills. Here's a quick update on a few bills of note & how you can help with mental health legislation:
THE GOOD NEWS:
SB126 about Community Health Workers has "passed temporarily" both the House and Senate.
HB6297 to create a task force to study DCF voluntary admissions passed the House and Senate and is on the consent calendar. Co-sponsors to thank from our region: Sen. Marilyn Moore, Reps. Patricia Billie Miller, Livvy Floren, Terrie Wood & Terry Adams.
The following 3 bills have made it out of the House and into the Senate. Please urge your Senator to make sure they get to the floor for a vote before the end of the session!
Our bill HB6483 to create a task force to address shortages in the psychiatric workforce has been amended and collapsed into an omnibus bill, HB 7222 (where it appears as Section 46). HB 7222 is now on the Senate calendar, #587.
HB 5809 is a bill to establish a mental health community investment fund--basically a checkoff box on your tax form, allowing you to donate to mental health. This bill is still in the House, but a similar concept has been put into another omnibus bill: HB 7312, amendment A, Section 42, which is on the Senate calendar, #567.
HB7091 is a bill supported by DMHAS to remove discriminatory language from existing statutes. Current CT law states that any healthcare professional who receives a mental health diagnosis must report it to DPH. This requirement does not apply to other professions or in other states and may very well prevent people from seeking treatment. There are already statutes in place that protect the public safety if a healthcare professional is not competent or safe. This bill is on the Senate calendar, #577.
THE SAD NEWS:
Our bill HB6887 to require insurance coverage for peer support services did not make it out of the House. We will try again next year! Please thank Rep. Cristin McCarthy-Vahey, Rep. Sean Scanlon & Rep. Jonathan Steinberg for their efforts on behalf of this bill.