Mental health legislation to watch: 2019

SB 10 (Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose) would establish a state certification process for peer providers—including family members, caretakers and people recovering from addiction or mental illness—who can then help guide others.

SB 11 (Beall) would strengthen enforcement of state and federal mental health parity laws, requiring health insurers to report annually to the state about their compliance with those laws. The information would be publicly available. Update: In May this bill was quietly, effectively killed for the 2019 session. 

SB 12 (Beall) would authorize creation of at least 100 drop-in centers to meet youths’ mental health needs.

SB 744 (Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas) would streamline the local approval process and limit environmental challenges to prevent “Not In My Back Yard” opposition to supportive housing projects funded by the No Place Like Home bond measure passed last fall.

SB 331 (Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger) would require counties to create and implement a suicide-specific strategic plan, especially for teenagers. Update: In August this bill was held up in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 890 (Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg) would allow nurse practitioners to diagnose and prescribe without supervision. Update: This bill stalled out in the spring of 2019, having never made it to the Assembly floor for a vote.

AB 565 (Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, D-San Diego) would forgive student loans for providers entering the public mental health workforce. Update: The Assembly passed this bill in 2019, but it ran aground in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 50 (Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose) would expand the state’s assisted living waiver program, which uses Medi-Cal funds to allow vulnerable people to stay in board-and-cares instead of nursing homes. The program is currently authorized to serve fewer than 6,000 people. This would broaden the program to serve more than 18,000. Update: This Assembly also passed this bill in 2019, but it was held back by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 1766 (Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica) would require the state to maintain data on board-and-care residents to better understand their needs.