Advocacy Alert: January 2022 Legislative News Round Up
February 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.
Limits on Virtual Addiction Treatment May Soon Return, Making Care Harder to Access
At a time when opioid overdose deaths were spiking, those temporary telehealth expansions not only helped patients work around pandemic lockdowns, but they also eliminated some common barriers to care that have plagued addiction treatment, like a shortage of health care providers able to prescribe them, lack of transportation to get to the doctor, or having a suspended driver’s license.
IA | Sen. Grassley’s Opioid Abuse Prevention Bill to Benefit Rural Addiction Services
With prescription drug abuse at an all-time high and deaths by illicitly manufactured fentanyl on the rise in nearly every region of the country, the issue’s gotten the attention of Congress including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
WY | Wyoming Mental Health Official Expresses Concern About Health Care ‘Crisis’
Wyoming mental health care officials are asking residents to contact their legislators to urge them to action in addressing the state’s mental health care system, which they said is currently in “crisis”.
AK | Restructuring the “Beast” of the Health & Social Services Department
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy will issue an executive order to restructure the Department of Health and Social Services into two departments in the upcoming legislative session.
ND | Bismarck Receives Federal Grant to Fight Opioid Crisis
The grant provides $900,002 over three years for a comprehensive opioid, stimulant and substance abuse site-based program.
NY | Behavioral Health Organizations Respond to Proposed $10 Billion Health Care Investment by Gov. Hochul During the State of the State Address
Although the amount would be a historic figure, organizations within the behavioral health community in New York state have raised concerns about whether their specific needs will be met.
CO | Polis Appoints Former D.C. Health Official as Behavioral Health Commissioner
A former top Washington, D.C., health official will become Colorado’s new behavioral health commissioner, Gov. Jared Polis announced.
Rush and McKinley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Hold Internet Companies Accountable for Sales of Deadly, Illegal Drugs Online
U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) introduced the bipartisan Domain Reform for Unlawful Drug Sellers (DRUGS) Act, legislation to ensure that social media platforms and websites are held accountable for failing to prevent the sale of dangerous, illegal drugs on their platforms.
Democrats, Republicans Outline 2022 Health Care Priorities
Legislators from both parties met virtually on Jan. 6 at the 2022 Washington State of Reform Health Policy conference to discuss their health care priorities ahead of the legislative session.
OR | Oregon Offers Different Paths to Addiction Recovery
The Addictions Recovery Center has asked for Measure 110 grant money to sustain the team, said Lori Paris, president and chief executive officer of the center.
IL | Mental Health ‘Living Room’ Proposed
City Council members are scheduled Monday evening to discuss a proposal to develop a “living room” facility in Evanston to treat persons in mental health crisis.
Call Centers on ‘Shoestring Budget’ for Suicide Prevention Line
Resource-strapped call centers anticipate a burst of demand in July when the new 988 national suicide prevention hotline number goes live.
MA | Massachusetts Bill Would Give Students Mental Health Days
Lawmakers are proposing ways to give Massachusetts students additional flexibility to cope with mental health issues as they arise.
VA | Youngkin Announces his Pick for Virginia Health Secretary
The Youngkin transition announced Monday that John Littel has been tapped for the role.
House Republican Discusses Bipartisan Behavioral Health Priorities for the 2022 Session
In this Q&A, Representative Mary Bradfield talks with State of Reform about the importance of behavioral health in the 2022 legislative session and some of her other health policy priorities for the session, especially in an election year.
WA | Washington Legislators Discuss Health Bill for Behavioral Outpatient Treatment
Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) and Rep. Jamila Taylor (D-Federal Way) proposed Senate Bill 5645/House Bill 1773 regarding community treatment for Washington citizens with severe behavioral health issues that pose a threat to themselves or others.
CT | Connecticut Task Force Proposes Array of Police Reforms
The panel is recommending police departments create their own crisis intervention teams, or partner on regional teams, if they haven’t already. The teams would include mental health experts and social workers to respond to certain calls.
KY | Proposed Bill Would Allow Kentucky Students to Take Mental Health Days
House Bill 44, or an act relating to student mental health, would require local school districts to provide a policy granting excused absences for mental or behavioral health, essentially paying the way for student mental health days.
MPs Criticise UK Gambling Regulator for Trying to Reduce Addiction
The findings by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on betting and gaming have been described as “ludicrous” by a campaigner for regulatory reform and met with a frosty reception from the regulator.
GA | Advocates for Increased Mental Health Services Rally at Capitol for More Support
Turner and the other featured Georgians rallied at the state Capitol Monday as advocates and a bipartisan group of lawmakers press for action on mental health and substance use disorder services.
Current and Former Users Asked to Advise Government on Drug Policy
Scotland’s drugs policy minister has announced a group including people with lived experience of drug use which will be asked to make recommendations.
SC | State Officials Plan to Better Mental Health Services in Schools
Dr. Janice Key says South Carolina has reached a crisis when it comes to students and mental heath.
AL | Bill Would Change Involuntary Commitment Law
A bill in the Alabama Legislature would change the involuntary commitment process for someone with a mental health issue, allowing judges to consider behavior over a two-year period.
ID | Idaho Gov. Little Proposes More Social Workers for Idaho Health Department
Gov. Brad Little has proposed the addition of 21 social workers and three psychosocial rehabilitation specialists for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, along with a 7% pay increase for safety assessors and case managers.
NH | New Hampshire to use Pandemic Relief to Expand Mental Health Services
New Hampshire plans to spend more than $17 million in federal pandemic relief money to expand mental health services and reduce the number of psychiatric patients boarding in emergency rooms.
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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.
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