Advocacy Alert: May 2021 Legislative News Round Up

June 3, 2021

For those of you who follow us on social media know, we post news stories on a daily basis that are connected to the behavioral health and addiction treatment industry.

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.


US Government Funds Mental Health Crisis Teams to Stand In for Police
Shared 5/1/2021
The effort to reinvent policing after the death of George Floyd in police custody is getting an assist through Medicaid.

NM | Q&A: 1st Congressional District Candidate Melanie Stansbury
Shared 5/3/2021
The Albuquerque Journal sits down with Melanie Stansbury.

24 States Mount Legal Fight To Block Sackler Bid For Opioid Immunity
Shared 5/4/2021
24 state attorneys general as well as the attorney general for Washington, D.C., filed a new brief describing the proposed settlement as “unprecedented,” “unjust” and “unconfirmable as a matter of law.”

IA | Iowa Lawmakers Propose $59 Million Increase for Health and Human Services Budget
Shared 5/4/2021
The proposal would increase funds for mental health services for children and for home- and community-based services to help Iowans remain in their homes.

SD | South Dakota’s Tough Drug Laws will be in State Supreme Court’s Spotlight
Shared 5/4/2021
While legal arguments will win or lose the upcoming South Dakota Supreme Court battle over Amendment A, some legal minds see the case having far-reaching impacts on low-level drug crimes, which fill the state’s criminal justice system.

AK | Q&A: Verné Boerner on the Priorities of the Alaska Native Health Board Post-Pandemic
Shared 5/6/2021
Verné Boerner is the President and CEO of the Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB).

Three U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Use Part of COVID Stimulus Money for Opioid Crisis
Shared 5/8/2021
A bipartisan trio of U.S. lawmakers is asking Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for latitude to use some of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package for addressing the opioid crisis.

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Seeks Some COVID-19 Funds for Opioid Crisis
Shared 5/10/2021
A bipartisan group of Congress members is asking the Treasury Department to allow states to use funding from the most recent stimulus bill to combat the opioid epidemic.

PA | Pennsylvania Can’t Fine Addiction Treatment Facilities that Break Rules
Shared 5/10/2021
Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs has allowed providers to continue operating despite repeated violations and harm to clients.

Addicted America: What is Biden’s Long-Term Plan to Fight the Opioid Crisis?
Shared 5/15/2021
In an effort to fight the crisis in the short term, the Biden administration relaxed guidelines giving health care providers more flexibility to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that reduces opioid relapses and overdose deaths.

UT | Industry Leaders Recap Mental Health Bills from Last Session
Shared 5/16/2021
Four mental health experts joined us at our 2021 Utah State of Reform Health Policy Conference to discuss mental health and progress on substance abuse legislation in Utah.

FL | Tampa Bay Partnership to Launch Opioid Research Project with Gov. DeSantis
Shared 5/18/2021
The launch of Project Opioid Tampa Bay will host leaders from across the region and state, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, to develop and execute strategies to reduce opioid deaths.

MN | Historic Vote at Minnesota Legislature Shifts the Debate on Marijuana
Shared 5/19/2021
Polls show that the majority of Minnesotans support full legalization.

America’s Love Affair with Marijuana
Shared 5/20/2021
The USA’s softening views toward marijuana are reflected in the rapidly growing number of states that have legalized recreational use of the drug (it’s closing in on 20) and in recently conducted polls by The Economist and YouGov.

IN | Indiana Makes Mental Health Investments in 2021
Shared 5/22/2021
Hoosiers should see more access to mental health resources thanks to Indiana lawmakers this session.

VA | 5 Things Virginia: Update from DMAS, Federal Health Agenda, Behavioral Health
Shared 5/23/2021
If you were not one of the almost 300 folks at State of Reform, you can see some of the highlights from the event for a sense of what you missed.

IL | Disinvestment, Pandemic Leave Illinois’ State of Mental Health Care in ‘Crisis’
Shared 5/24/2021
Rooted in disinvestment and growing amid economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois is facing a statewide mental health crisis due to workforce shortages and accessibility.

MI | Michigan House Approves Health Appropriation Bill for Upcoming Fiscal Year
Shared 5/25/2021
The Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 4399, which designates the House’s budget for health and human services in the upcoming fiscal year.

GA | Will Mental Health Commission’s Ideas Be Ignored?
Shared 5/26/2021
Last year, as Georgia endured the strain of COVID-19, a blue-ribbon commission quietly held regular meetings about how to improve mental health services in the state.

Senators Seek Solutions for Surge in Mental Health Crises
Shared 5/27/2021
Increasing payment to behavioral health clinics, leveraging peers, boosting workforce are just some of the ideas.

NH | Sununu Says Time for Action, Not Talk, on Mental Health
Shared 5/28/2021
When it comes to expanding the number of treatment beds to care for mentally ill adults and children, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said he is losing patience.

SD | Noem Calls for Raising Mental Health Awareness
Shared 5/30/2021
Gov. Kristi Noem has proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month in South Dakota. The goal is raising awareness about mental health challenges and resources that are available to help.

HHS Launching Council to Address Mental Health, Substance Use Issues
Shared 5/31/2021
Also giving $3 billion in block grants for state, local government behavioral health efforts.

Questions? Concerns?

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.

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