Friday, January 22, 2016 The CSAC Bulletin
Health and Human Services
For more information, please contact Farrah McDaid Ting at 916.650.8110.
Appropriations Committee Passes Mental Health Bills

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed three bills of interest to counties this week, including two measures opposed by CSAC.

AB 59, by Assembly Member Marie Waldron, was amended on January 6 to extend the Laura’s Law deadline by five years, from 2017 to 2022. CSAC and the Urban Counties of California both support this version of the bill, which was passed by the Appropriations Committee and is now on the Assembly Floor.

AB 168, by Assembly Member Maienschein, was amended on January 4 with new language that counties oppose. AB 168 would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to apply for, and places restrictions on, a federal demonstration program that offers federal matching funds for Medi-Cal behavioral health services provided through clinics.

The restrictions on counties included in this bill cause concern. Specifically, the bill specifies that “counties shall not be selected to participate in the demonstration program, unless they redirect funds to increase housing opportunities for individuals with severe mental illnesses.”

To require a county to divert existing funding toward a specific population as a requirement for eligibility for unrelated federal grant funding is a stretch, and something that CSAC opposes. The County Behavioral Health Directors Association also opposes AB 168. It was passed by the Appropriations Committee and is now up on the Assembly Floor.

Lastly, we continue to work on AB 1300, by Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and sponsored by the California Hospital Association (CHA). The May 5, 2015 version was passed by the Appropriations Committee, but CHA plans to amend the bill once it gets to the Senate. CSAC continues to oppose the current version of AB 1300, and has met with CHA on their proposed new amendments. However, the potential amendments also cause concern and we anticipate actively opposing AB 1300 in the Senate.