Improving care for those suffering from mental illness is a major focus of state lawmakers. WSCC supports efforts to improve availability of community-based mental health programs and is closely monitoring the following bills:
Children’s Mental Health – HB 1876 / SB 5903 requires Educational Service Districts to coordinate behavioral health efforts for school districts, including training and the provision of the State Superintendent’s mental health literacy and healthy relationship curriculum. This is scheduled for a committee vote on the morning of Friday the 15th.
Increasing Peer Services – SB 5055 directs the Health Care Authority to continue developing a peer support program for individuals with substance use disorder. There is limited access to vital peer services, especially in rural areas, and SB 5055 would help create more access. The bill is in the Senate Rules Committee.
Comprehensive Behavioral Health – Proposed by the Governor, HB 1393 / SB 5432 restructures the provision of key behavioral health programs in the state. The bill establishes managed care organizations and behavioral health organizations to manage the community behavioral health system. The legislation is progressing through the assigned policy committee in each chamber.
Expanding Mental Health Care for Teens – HB 1874 / SB 5904 authorizes mental health professionals to provide certain treatment information to a parent or guardian when they determine this would not be detrimental to the adolescent. This bill is also scheduled for a committee vote on February 15th.
The Washington State Senate passed a resolution (SR 8613), introduced by Sen. Phil Fortunato (R – Auburn), honoring the more than 17,000 members of the Knights of Columbus in our state. The Knights were commended for their contributions “to a strong civil society [and] for their work serving the poor and vulnerable in our state and around the world…”
The U.S.Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a newly proposed regulation requiring health plans that cover abortion to also offer identical plans without abortion coverage. The USCCB submitted written comments not only applauding this proposal, but also urging stronger language to ensure greater availability of such plans and alerting consumers if a particular plan covers abortion. The WSCC encourages you to submit your own comment before the 2:00 pm on February 19, 2019.
SB 5826 implements the federal Family First Prevention Services Act that Congress passed last year. The bill enables our state to receive additional federal funding for foster care services, increase placements in family settings (as appropriate), and encourage family reunification. This bill was passed unanimously out of the committee of origin and is scheduled for public hearing in Senate Ways & Means on February 18 at 3:30 pm.
Before the establishment of the USCCB, and in the aftermath of the first World War, the U.S. Bishops published a landmark statement on national social policy. The Bishops called for government to enact both a minimum wage as well as insurance programs that protect citizens “against illness, invalidity, unemployment, and old age”. The Bishops concluded their statement by encouraging a “human and Christian, in contrast to the purely commercial and pagan, ethics of industry.” Read the whole statement.
The WSCC has heard from many Catholic school leaders expressing concern and sharing personal stories when they were not notified by first responders of emergency situations, despite notifications made to other schools in their neighborhoods. SB 5514 would require first responders to notify all known schools – public or private – in a given vicinity of an emergency in process that would require a lockdown or evacuation. Further, HB 1216/SB 5317 seeks to create a statewide network of support to increase school safety and student well-being. WSCC is pleased to announce that each of these bills has been passed out of committee and are now being considered by the fiscal committee in each chamber.