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2020 Legislation

AB 3242 and Other Bills Signed Into Law by Governor Newsom September 25, 2020


Legislation: AB 3242 (Irwin)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

NAMI California is the co-sponsor of this bill, with the California Hospital Association, which aims to make mental health assessments — and as a result, treatment — quicker and more accessible through telehealth and other remote technology.

About the Bill: This proposes an amendment to the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which authorizes the involuntary commitment and treatment of persons with specified mental health disorders for the protection of the persons so committed. Under the act, if a person, as a result of a mental health disorder, is a danger to others, or to themselves, or is gravely disabled, the person may, upon probable cause, be taken into custody for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention, or placement for evaluation and treatment. This amendment to the law would authorize an examination, assessment, or evaluation specified, required, or authorized by the above-mentioned provisions to be conducted using telehealth. More about the bill; see a video message from NAMI California CEO Jessica Cruz about this legislation.

Legislation: AB 2112 (Ramos)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

About the Bill:

NAMI California supported this bill to establish the Office of Suicide Prevention within the California Health and Human Services Agency, to lead research and prevention efforts for youth suicide and toxic stress. Existing law establishes the State Department of Public Health within the California Health and Human Services Agency. This bill would authorize the State Department of Public Health to establish the Office of Suicide Prevention within the department would require the office to perform specified duties, including providing strategic guidance to statewide and regional partners regarding best practices on suicide prevention and reporting to the Legislature on progress to reduce rates of suicide, and authorize the office to apply for and use federal grants. The bill would require the office to consult with the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to implement suicide prevention efforts and would require the commission to transfer its suicide prevention contracts to the office, as prescribed. More about the bill.

Legislation: AB 2377 (Chiu)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

About the Bill: NAMI California supported this bill. Among other provisions, current law requires a residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE), if 7 or more residents of the facility will be transferred as a result of the forfeiture of a license or the change in the use of a facility, to submit a proposed closure plan for the affected residents to the State Department of Social Services for review, and requires the department to approve or disapprove the plan. Current law requires an RCFE to refund to a resident any paid pre admission fees, according to a prescribed schedule. Current law imposes civil penalties for a violation of these requirements by an RCFE, of $100 per violation per day. This bill would establish similar procedures and requirements for an adult residential facility transferring a resident of the facility to another facility or to an independent living arrangement as a result of the forfeiture of a license or a closure of the facility for another reason. More about the bill.

The Legislation: SB 803 (Beall)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

About the Bill: NAMI California supports this bill to establish a peer support specialist certification program administered by the State Department of Health Care Services. Current law establishes the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services and under which qualified low-income persons receive health care benefits. The Medi-Cal program is, in part, governed and funded by federal Medicaid program provisions. Current law establishes a schedule of benefits under the Medi-Cal program and provides for various services, including behavioral and mental health services that are rendered by Medi-Cal enrolled providers.This bill would establish a peer support specialist certification program administered by the department. More about the bill; sign our letter urging Governor Newsom to sign the bill into law.

Legislation: SB 1259 (Hurtado)

NAMI California supported this bill to require the State Department of Social Services to establish a task force for the purpose of issuing a report with recommendations on how to meet the housing and care needs of elderly recipients of SSI/SSP benefits. The bill was held on the Assembly Appropriations suspense file and it will not move forward in the process.

Legislation: AB 2015 (Eggman)

About the Bill: NAMI California supported this bill. Existing law authorizes a peace officer or a professional designated by the county to take a person into custody for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention, or placement for evaluation and treatment, when the person is a danger to self or others, or is gravely disabled, as a result of a mental health disorder. Existing law also authorizes a court to order the evaluation of a person who is alleged to be a danger to self or others as a result of a mental disorder, or the evaluation of a criminal defendant who appears to be a danger to self or others, or to be gravely disabled, as a result of chronic alcoholism or the use of narcotics or restricted dangerous drugs. Existing law authorizes a person who is detained or under court order pursuant to those provisions to be certified, under certain conditions, for not more than 14 days of intensive treatment related to the mental health disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism.

Existing law requires that a certification review hearing be held, as specified, and governs the procedure for presenting evidence at the hearing. Existing law requires the hearing to be conducted by either a court-appointed commissioner or a referee, or a certification review hearing officer, as described. Existing law authorizes the person to be detained for involuntary care, protection, and treatment related to the mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism if, at the conclusion of the certification review hearing, the person conducting the hearing finds that there is probable cause that the person certified is a danger to self or others or is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism, as specified.

This bill would authorize the evidence presented in support of the certification decision to include information regarding the person’s medical condition condition, as defined, and how that condition bears on certifying the person as a danger to themselves or to others or as gravely disabled. The bill would require the hearing officer to consider the information in the determination of probable cause.

Existing law requires a person’s involuntary detention for intensive treatment to be terminated and the person released if the person certified is no longer a danger to self or others as a result of mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism.

This bill would require, if the person needs continuing medical treatment after the termination of the involuntary detention, the person to be informed that continuing medical treatment is recommended. More about the bill.

Legislation: AB 1976 (Eggman)

NAMI California supports this bill.

About the Bill: The Assisted Outpatient Treatment Demonstration Project Act of 2002, known as Laura’s Law, until January 1, 2022, authorizes each county to elect to offer specified mental health programs either through a resolution adopted by the county board of supervisors or through the county budget process if the county board of supervisors makes a finding that specified mental health programs will not be reduced as a result of participating. Existing law authorizes participating counties to pay for the services provided from moneys distributed to the counties from various continuously appropriated funds, including the Mental Health Services Fund, when included in a county plan, as specified.

This bill, commencing July 1, 2021, would instead require a county or group of counties to offer those mental health programs unless a county or group of counties opts out by a resolution passed by the governing body stating the reasons for opting out and any facts or circumstances relied on in making that decision. The bill would also authorize a county to instead offer those mental health programs in combination with one or more counties, as specified. The bill would prohibit a county or group of counties implementing these provisions from reducing existing voluntary mental health programs serving adults, or children’s mental health programs, as a result of the implementation. The bill would also repeal the expiration of Laura’s Law, thereby extending it indefinitely.

Existing law authorizes various persons to request the county mental health director to file a petition in the superior court for an order for assisted outpatient treatment for a person who meets specified criteria.

This bill, commencing July 1, 2021, would additionally authorize a judge in a superior court to request a petition for that order to be filed for a person who appears before the judge. The bill would make additional conforming changes. More about the bill.

Advocacy Actions

Letter in Opposition of SB665 to Jim Wood, Chair Assembly Committee on Health

NAMI California Letter to the Governor’s Task Force on Policing (June 2020)

Coalition Letter to Governor Newsom to preserve the goals and services provided by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) (March 2020)

Letter to State Assembly Chairs O’Donnell and Wood in support of AB 2668 (Quirk-Silva and Weber), Integrated School-Based Behavioral Health Partnership Program (March 2020)

Letter to Governor Newsom urging state and local government leaders to continue to honor the values outlined in the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) during the COVID-19 crisis (March 2020)

Letter to State Senator Richard Pan in support of SB 855 (Wiener): Health coverage: mental health or substance abuse disorders (March 2020)

Letter to Senator Richard Pan in support of SB 854 (Beall): Health care coverage: Substance use disorders (March 2020)

NAMI CA MHSA Position Letter (December 2019)

2019 NAMI CA Legislative Bill Positions (updated 8-14-19); 2019 Legislative Wrap-Up (published October 2019)

2019 California State Legislative Wrap-Up (published October 2019)

Governor Newsom Announces Dr. Tom Insel as “Mental Health Czar of California” (NAMI CA Press Release)

Enacted 2019-2020 CA State Budget

Letter to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) urging them to submit an Serious Mental Illness/Severe Emotional Disturbance (SMI/SED) Demonstration Opportunity application to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. (January 2019)

Proposition 2 – No Place Like Home: NAMI California supports Prop2. Read more about Prop 2.

AB 680 (Chu) – Mental Health Training for Public Safety Dispatchers: Fact Sheet; Analysis; Letter

Letter on concerns about AB 480 (Salas) – Using Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Funds: NAMI California concerns AB 480 Letter; AB 734 Letter; Whole Person Care

Legislative Resources

California Legislative Information (including bill search)

California Legislature Advocates (create account to track your advocacy)

Legislative Calendar

Office of the Chief Clerk

The California Channel (live webcasts of hearings/Senate and Assembly floors)

Assembly Committees

Senate Committees

Legislative Process Overview (Cal State)

Policy News

California State Legislative Wrap-Up (published October 2019).

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