Our 2015 Legislation Signed Into Law
AB 388 (Chang) – Housing: Homeless Veterans
This bill requires an evaluation to ensure that entities receiving funds through the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act of 2014 are using them in the most effective manner possible to prevent our nation’s military veterans from becoming homeless and to aid impoverished veterans already living on the streets.
AB 847 (Mullin) – Excellence in Mental Health Act
AB 1299 (Ridley-Thomas) – Out of County Transfer of care: Foster Youth
This bill requires the Department of Health Care Services to issue policy guidance that establishes the presumptive transfer of responsibility for providing or arranging for mental health services to foster youth from the county of original jurisdiction to the foster child’s county of residence. This bill would also require the Department of Finance to set or adjust its allocation schedule of the Behavioral Health Subaccount to ensure that counties that have paid, or will pay, for specialty mental health services for foster children placed out-of-county are fully reimbursed during the fiscal year in which the services are provided.
SB 11 (Beall) – Law Enforcement Training: Mental Health
This bill ensures that law enforcement officers receive additional training in how to de-escalate an encounter with a person suffering from a brain illness, intellectual disability or substance use disorder. Specifically, it requires 15 hours of evidence-based training and three hours of continuing education in this area.
SB 29 (Beall) – Law Enforcement Training: Mental Health
This bill ensures that all law enforcement officers who serve as trainers have at least eight hours of instruction in crisis intervention for mental health issues and at least four hours of training on how to deal with people coping with brain illness or intellectual disability.
Legislative Efforts we Continue to Push
The Steinberg Institute sponsored or supported multiple other measures in 2015 that it continued to press through legislation. This included:
AB 1006 (Levine) – Mental Health Justice Act
Half of all prisoners in California are mentally ill and have received psychiatric treatment within the past year. Many of these offenders’ crimes were directly linked to their psychiatric condition and lack of treatment. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, conditions in California prisons are exacerbating psychiatric disorders of mentally ill prisoners. When released from custody, mentally ill parolees have a higher recidivism rate compared to healthy parolees, according to the Department of Corrections. AB 1006 addresses this issue by giving Superior Courts discretion to order more appropriate sentencing for mentally ill offenders in prison and county jails when in the best interests of the defendant and the community, provided such treatment does not endanger public safety. This bill was vetoed.
AB 253 (Hernandez) – Veterans Access to Care via Prop 63 services
AB 253 would expand the expertise of the Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission to include members experienced in reducing mental health disparities in diverse communities, and who specialize in veterans’ mental health issues. The bill would also require agencies that share policy goals of providing veteran housing to give priority to applicants that have stable funding from the Mental Health Services Act. To improve oversight, AB 253 would ensure that county agencies share their mental health plan’s cultural competency section with the legislature within 30 days of receipt. This bill was held in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
AB 1025 (Thurmond) – School-Based Prevention & Early Intervention Mental Health Services
AB 1025 would require the State Department of Education to establish a 3-year pilot program to encourage inclusive practices that integrate mental health, special education, and school climate interventions; and to report back on the effectiveness of the pilot. This bill was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 741 (Williams) – Kids Crisis Care
AB 741 seeks to add to the schedule of benefits comprehensive mental health crisis services, including crisis intervention, crisis stabilization, crisis residential treatment, rehabilitative mental health services, and mobile crisis support teams. This change would address the gaps in our state’s crisis services continuum for children and youth in California. The need for mental health services are particularly acute for children in foster care, who have experienced more trauma than any child should ever know. This bill was vetoed.
AB 861 (Maienschein) Mental health: community-based services
AB 861 will direct the State Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to develop a proposal to compete to become one of the eight designated states to receive significantly enhanced federal mental health funds. These additional funds will significantly help California’s counties serve more people who are homeless due to an untreated mental illness and get them off the streets, out of hospitals and jails, and into treatment. The bill will also ensure that if the state is successful in its bid for extra funding, that it dedicates a significant portion of the savings to provide housing for people with severe mental illnesses who would otherwise be homeless. AB 861 will require the DHCS’s grant proposal to include plans for counties to redirect a portion of the funds to provide increased housing opportunities for individuals with severe mental illnesses. This bill was vetoed.
AB 1133 (Achajian) – School-Based Prevention & Early Intervention MH Services
AB 1133 would create a four-year prevention and early intervention pilot program to help students from preschool to 3rd grade experiencing school adjustment problems, by 1) supporting, strengthening, and expanding on early mental health services that have continued to produce results despite the cancellation of Early Mental Health Initiative (EMHI) state matching grants, and 2) supporting new schools that choose to provide these services. This bill was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 118 (Liu) – School-Based Health and Education Partnership Program
SB 118 seeks to rename the Public School Health Center Support Program as the School-Based Health and Education Partnership Program and, once implemented, would provide funding for the expansion and renovation of existing school health centers. SB 118 would add a “population health grant” for the purpose of targeting specific health and education programs such as those related to obesity, asthma, substance abuse and mental health. This bill was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 296 (Cannella) – Standardization of Paperwork
This bill requires the Department of Health Care Services to develop a single set of service documentation requirements for the provision of specialty mental health services, and requires the department to update the documentation requirements. It also prohibits counties from requiring additional documentation requirements for such services that go beyond the documentation requirements developed by the department. This bill was held on the Senate Floor.