While many high-profile omnibus bills this session stalled when they missed the end-of-session deadline, a mental health omnibus package assembled late Sunday did make it across the finish line.
Sponsored by Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina) and Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake), HF2725, as amended by the Senate, would appropriate $92.7 million to fund mental health programs and initiatives ranging from establishing loan forgiveness for mental health professionals to expanding the use of mobile crisis service teams.
Following a 66-0 Senate vote, the House concurred with a 68-60 vote. It now goes to the governor.
Edelson said the amendment added “really good mental health initiatives that will help our communities and our state.”
The bill would fund school-linked mental health grants to increase accessibility for children and youth who are uninsured or underinsured and would improve the identification of mental health issues for children and youth.
The use of mobile crisis service teams would be expanded. These teams are made up of mental health professionals and practitioners who provide psychiatric services to individuals within their own homes and at other sites outside the traditional clinical setting.
Mobile crisis services provided for in the bill would provide a rapid response to individuals in a mental health crisis.
The bill would appropriate money for resources for mental health services in schools, and includes incentives to encourage and ease barriers to entering the mental health profession.
To pay for expanded mental health services to criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial, the bill would appropriate $10.1 million in the 2024-25 biennium to district courts to pay for additional competency examination costs.
The bill would establish a State Competency Restoration Board in the judicial branch and fund it with $22.3 million beginning in the 2024-25 biennium to hire and oversee “forensic navigators,” whose duties would include coordinating mental health services to criminal defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Some of the notable funding provisions include: