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Legislation to Watch

This page is a hub for learning about legislation related to mental health and mental health advocacy currently in the California Assembly or Senate. Read on to learn about several important bills below, and how you can voice your opinion about legislation:


SB-803: Peer Support Specialist Certification Act of 2020

Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) – Read the bill here.

This bill would establish a statewide certification program for peer support specialists, and provides the structure needed to maximize the federal match for peer services under Medi-Cal. The program defines the range of responsibilities and practice guidelines for peer support specialists, specifies required training and continuing education requirements, determines clinical supervision requirements, and establishes a code of ethics and processes for revocation of certification.

For more information, contact:

Carrie Holmes, Office of Senator Jim Beall – (916) 651-4015 – Carrie.Holmes@sen.ca.gov 

Want to voice your support? Complete this sample letter.


SB-855: Health Coverage: mental health or substance abuse disorders

Senator Scott D. Wiener (D-San Francisco) – Read the bill here.

This bill would define services for mental health and substance abuse disorders as “medically necessary treatment” for insurance coverage purposes. It would prohibit insurers from only covering short-term or acute treatment, since recovery from mental health and substance abuse disorders require longer-term treatment. This bill would also require insurers to reimburse out-of-network coverage at in-network rates in the event services are unavailable from the plan’s network providers.

For more information, contact Sen. Weiner’s office.

Want to voice your support? Complete this sample letter.


AB-565: Public Health Workforce Planning: loan forgiveness, loan repayment, and scholarship program

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego) – Read the bill here.

This bill would amend an existing law that established a loan forgiveness and scholarship program for physicians and surgeons, and expand it to include people working in mental health settings. The bill would clarify that loan forgiveness and scholarship programs are made available to employees of the mental health system who want to obtain an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. The bill would help reduce the workforce shortage in the mental health field.

For more information, contact Assemb. Maienschein’s office.

Want to voice your support? Complete this sample letter.


AB-1766: Adult Residential Facilities (ARF) (Board & Cares) Data Collection

Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) – Read the bill here.

This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to collect and publicly report data from licensed adult residential facilities for the elderly, including whether they accept residents with a serious mental illness. It would also require them to report the number of facilities primarily serving low-income residents closed in the last quarter. The bill is currently waiting in the Senate.

For more information, contact Assemb. Bloom’s office.


AB-2589: Strengthening the No Place Like Home Program

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego) – Read the bill here.

This bill would amend the 2016 “No Place Like Home” law (NPLH) to expand the definition of “permanent supportive housing” to include licensed adult residential facilities for the elderly (board and care homes). This bill would make those facilities eligible for funding by the NPLH, which provides funding for supportive housing for people with mental illness who are homeless or at risk of becoming chronically homeless.

For more information, contact Assemb. Maienschein’s office.


SB 854: Access to Medication for Substance Use Disorders from Private Health Insurers

Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) – Read the bill here.

This bill would bar private insurers from creating barriers to the use of FDA-approved prescriptions for the treatment of substance use disorders which, in conjunction with therapy, are known to be effective in treating these disorders.

For more information, contact:

Carrie Holmes, Office of Senator Jim Beall – (916) 651-4015 – Carrie.Holmes@sen.ca.gov

 

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