Advocacy Alert: February 2022 Legislative News Round Up
March 3, 2022
Many of these are news stories regarding legislation, so once a month we send out a ‘news roundup’ of related news stories we’ve posted. Unless otherwise stated, BHAP has no official stance on any of these stories: the intention is to share so that we’re all better informed as to what’s happening in the legislative world.
A reminder that BHAP members get access to a monthly call with our advocate in Washington, DC, to find out what is going on and ask any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us for more information on that.
ND | North Dakota Expands Eligibility for In-Home, Community-Based Behavioral Health Services
A program in North Dakota to provide in-home and community-based support services for people with addictions and severe mental illness was hampered by strict eligibility criteria, which now have been eased.
US Opioid Crisis Arose from Weak Laws and Regulations, Study Says
“It took more than a generation of mistakes to create the North American opioid crisis. It might take a generation of wiser policies to resolve it,” said a report by the Standford-Lancet Commission on the North American Opioid Crisis.
CO | Bill Seeks to Divert People with Behavioral Health Disorders Out of Criminal Justice System into Treatment
A bill in the Colorado Senate aims to prevent people with mental health issues from entering the criminal justice system and instead send them to treatment centers that can address their psychological needs.
FL | Senate Passes Bundle of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Bills
While opioid use was possibly declining over recent years, the pandemic has caused numbers to increase.
Q&A: Sen. David Frockt on SB 5894 and Behavioral Health
State of Reform spoke with David Frockt to get an understanding of several bills he’s sponsoring or watching, including SB 5894, which would integrate behavioral health into primary care through the use of health navigators and a primary care collaborative.
IL | Illinois Opens Applications for Violence-Prevention Grants
The Department of Human Services says there’s $50 million for prevention services in Chicago including street-based “interruption” and victims’ services.
VA and Communities Support Challenge to Prevent Veteran Suicide
VA has extended a call to action to every U.S. state and territory to join the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.
ME | Maine Jobs Program for Opioid Epidemic Sufferers Gets $2M
A Maine program that connects people affected by the opioid epidemic with education and training has received more than $2 million from the federal government.
Why the Biden Administration Wants to Hand Out ‘Safe Smoking’ Kits
The Biden administration will provide grant funding to pay for the distribution of safe smoking kits as part of efforts to reduce harm from substance abuse over the next three years.
DC | Washington, DC, Announces Massive Public Education Budget With More Mental Health Funding
The huge spending proposal could be challenged by inflation, enrollment declines and staffing shortages.
NY | Queens Councilmember on Increasing Access to Mental Healthcare
“Access means a lot of different things, and language access is a huge part of it,” Councilmember Linda Lee, who now chairs the committee on mental health, told WBAI’s City Watch.
VA | Behavioral Health Docket Helps Turn Lives Around in Virginia
The specialized programs offer defendants — charged with relatively minor offenses but often challenged by serious mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia — access to treatment and community resources.
US Could Loosen Some Restrictions on Prescribing Opioids
CDC considers rolling back limits on which doses can be prescribed and for how many days in cases of acute pain.
Senators Explore Improving Reimbursement Rates as a Way to Ease Mental Health Provider Shortage
Several experts told the Senate Finance Committee that raising reimbursement rates for providers is a pivotal way to increase access to youth mental health as it will drive more of them into the specialty.
WI | Wisconsin’s Opioid Settlement Funds Discussed at DHS Listening Sessions
Wisconsin received $420 million in opioid settlement funds and the state is turning to its constituents for ideas on how to spend it.
MD | Lt. Gov. Highlights Legislation to Expand Access to Behavioral Health Resources, New Initiatives to Combat Opioid Epidemic in Maryland
On Feb. 10, Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford highlighted new legislation to increase access to mental and behavioral health resources and reduce barriers to receiving care for individuals struggling with substance use disorders.
AR | Majority Of Arkansas Voters Support Marijuana Legalization
The survey from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College asked respondents about cannabis policy, giving them three options for what they think the “legal status of marijuana in Arkansas” should be.
TN | Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Publishes Videos Highlighting Tennessee’s Recovery Courts
Tennessee has a total of 82 Recovery Courts, Veterans Treatment Courts, Mental Health Courts, Juvenile and Family, and DUI courts which offer a rigorous program of treatment, testing, and therapy as an alternative to incarceration.
AK | Alaska Mental Health Trust Awards over $1 Million in Grants
The grants are intended to serve as investments to support workforce development, and improving communications systems that support Trust beneficiary service delivery.
DC | Washington, DC, Neighborhood Leaders Pass a Resolution to Combat Opioid Crisis
As drug overdoses reach a record-setting high nationally, several neighborhood leaders in D.C. are urging officials to take immediate action.
HI | Second Hawaii Senate Committee Approves Psilocybin Task Force Bill
A second Hawaii Senate committee has approved a bill to set up a state working group to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and develop a “long-term” plan to ensure that the psychedelic is accessible for medical use for adults 21 and older.
VT | Panel Discusses Need for Greater Mental Health Services for Vermont Youth
The pandemic has highlighted the need for mental health access especially for students across Vermont.
NE | Proposed Bill Would Ensure Access to Behavioral Health Services Within School Buildings
A proposed bill would facilitate a stronger connection between schools and community providers in order for students to have better access to mental health care across Nebraska.
As always, we want your input.
A reminder that BHAP members get regular access to our advocate in Washington, DC. If you have any questions about BHAP’s advocacy efforts, please contact us.
A national membership association that provides education and advocacy for those in the behavioral health and addiction treatment industries.
We are the leading and unifying voice of addiction-focused treatment programs.