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Colorado Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses

MHAC2015 Legislative Report

Posted about 3 years ago by Linda Dwyer

MHAC's 2015 Legislative Report Shows Positive Movement in Mental Health Funding & Advocacy

DENVER  (June 11, 2015) - Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC), the state's leading advocate for mental health, is releasing the organization's 2015 Legislative Report today.

MHAC's 2015 Legislative Report

The first regular session of Colorado's 70th General Assembly convened in January, 2015 under new management. In the 2014 elections, voters gave Republicans control of the state Senate for the first time in a decade and narrowed the Democrats' majority in the House, splitting control of the legislature between the two parties. Divided control at the capitol led to some partisan showdowns, but also encouraged bipartisan cooperation on issues affecting Coloradans' mental health.

Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC) partnered with lawmakers from both parties to shape statewide responses to complex challenges, and to prevent harmful proposals from becoming law. Every bill MHAC opposed during the session was defeated, and 77% of the bills it supported passed. Staff also worked closely with leadership in the House and Senate to ensure that Coloradans who experience mental health conditions and substance use disorders, their families, and caregivers had a strong voice at the highest levels of legislative negotiations.

Legislation affecting Coloradans' mental health ranged from direct health care policy to law enforcement and criminal justice reform.  As Colorado continues to implement its homegrown approach to health systems transformation, legislative priorities centered on oversight and evaluation, barriers to access in rural areas and among specific populations, and planning for future needs. Recent turmoil between police departments and local communities created an opening for bipartisan cooperation on reform, which MHAC ensured addressed the need for greater training concerning people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

Increased state revenues from a growing economy led to a crossroads in the budget process, with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights constitutional amendment coming into conflict with funding for public health, education, and other priorities.

MHAC plays a unique role by reconnecting these and other policy areas to the underlying need for Coloradans to have equitable opportunities for health, including mental health. Some bills from the 2015 legislative expanded opportunities, while others threatened to curtail them. Together with partners in health advocacy, state government, and diverse communities across Colorado, MHAC will continue to advance those opportunities for all Coloradans.

For more information about MHAC's 2015 Legislative Report  contact:

Moe Keller, Vice President of Public Policy & Strategic Initiatives at 720.208.2224 or mkeller@mhacolorado.orgMichael Lott-Manier, Asst. Director of Public Policy & Strategic Initiatives at 720.208.2233 or mlott-manier@mhacolorado.org


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