Saturday, March 27, 2010
sanity sprouts from colorado house bill 1284
Dear Executive Committee and Members of the Legislative Committee:
On Monday, March 22nd HB 1284 was heard in House Judiciary, and although on Thursday we discussed "monitoring" this bill, Friday evening Rep. Massey the bill sponsor called and left a message excited to inform me that he had found a funding source for HB 1033 the SBIRT bill he is carrying for us. This is an actively support bill. I spoke with him on Monday morning and he explained that HB 1284's fiscal note had come in with approximately $2.3 million sales and use tax revenues in the first year and he was going to introduce an amendment to give $1 million to SBIRT and $1 million to substance abuse treatment.
Later that morning I was meeting with Rich Gebhardt who had heard there was an amendment when we were joined by Doyle from CBHC who shared the amendment that was being proposed by Rep. Pace (who sits on Judiciary). Both Rich and I were concerned about the language of the one million that went to treatment. I have attached the amendment L.051 that puts the money in the Indigent Mental health line item. Doyle assured us that the intent was to provide co-occurring treatment services (both substance abuse and mental health) and that she intended to correct. Rich spoke directly to Rep. Massey and Rep. Pace who said they would correct and asked us to support the amendment so the bill would pass out of Judiciary. There were as many as 66 amendments to this bill, so they had quite a job in front of them. This bill alone took about 3 hours to get through the committee.
In preparation for our meeting with Rep. Massey and Rep. Pace we have been talking with CBHC and Doyle has drafted language to replace the language that would have put the money into the indigent mental health line item.
Doyle's New Language:
One million dollars shall be appropriated to the Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health to be used to provide treatment services for adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system. This annual appropriation shall create a new line item in the annual appropriation bill specifically to provide for the co-occurring mental health and substance abuse treatment needs of indigent adults involved in the criminal justice system.
Several members would like the dollars to flow through the MSO's and would like that to be our recommendation. Others see this as an opportunity to create a dedicated line item in the DBH budget for "co-occurring treatment services" which I understand is currently not funded by mental health or substance abuse. I also go feedback that we should not restrict the dollars to "indigent adults involved in the criminal justice system" but rather focus on building the co-occurring aspect.