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Legislature moves ahead on heroin, mental health legislation

While questions remain over how much legislation will be passed in the few months remaining in the 2013-2014 state legislative biennium, two sets of legislative packages will almost certainly progress to Governor Scott Walker’s desk.

One set of legislation is a product of the Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health, including bills the Society strongly supports. The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services advanced some of those bills on Wednesday:

  • Senate Bill 360/Assembly Bill 453 – promotes better continuity of care among health care professionals for patients with mental health needs.
  • Senate Bill 359 – creates a child and adolescent psychiatry consultation program.
  • Senate Bill 366 – establishes a psychiatry/primary care shortage grant program in underserved areas of the state.

The bills passed through committee on widely bipartisan votes, which is probably a harbinger of the treatment they could receive by the full Senate as soon as next week.

The State Assembly, meanwhile, overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at stemming the growing problem of heroin and other drug abuse in Wisconsin. That house passed four bills on 96-0 votes:

  • Assembly Bill 445 – requires those picking up certain classes of prescription medication to show identification upon receipt.
  • Assembly Bill 446 – allows emergency medical personnel greater training and availability of naloxone.
  • Assembly Bill 447 – grants immunity for certain criminal prosecutions when a 911 call is made to summon help for heroin overdoses.
  • Assembly Bill 448 – updates state statutes to allow local communities greater flexibility in creating drug disposal programs.

Following the Assembly’s passage of the bills, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy released this statement praising Representative John Nygren, who authored the legislation, and the rest of the Assembly. These bills now move to the State Senate for further action.

Contact Mark Grapentine, JD, for additional information.

Back to January 16, 2014 Medigram