MACo’s initiative legislation HB 971/SB 641 received favorable votes in Senate and House committees today, setting them on the way to the respective floors.
The Senate Finance Committee voted favorably to move SB 641 out of committee immediately following the hearing on the bill. In the House, the Public Health and Minority Health Disparities subcommittee voted favorably on the cross-file HB 971, which sets it on the course to move out of the Health and Government and Operations Committee. The bills are expected to make their way to the House and Senate floors in the next couple of days.
One of MACo’s initiatives is to modernize and optimize several laws and programs to help counties combat the spiraling drug crisis. HB 971/SB 641 revamps the Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes Partnership (STOP) Fund to give local governments greater flexibility to use the grant funds for substance abuse treatment and related prevention and outreach efforts. From MACo’s testimony:
SB 641 expands the eligible uses for grant funds to reflect the shifting demographics and challenges in addressing substance abuse. Under current law, STOP funds are limited to certain eligible populations such as mothers of drug-addicted infants; needy families receiving temporary cash assistance; adolescents; and pretrial and prerelease correctional inmates. SB 641 expands the eligible uses to include transportation to and from treatment services; coordination staff; data sharing; community emergency behavioral health services or crisis stabilization units; and substance abuse counseling in schools. The bill reasonably allows for a participating county to use STOP funding to continue or to expand any eligible program that was has been in operation since October 1, 2010.
Previous coverage on Conduit Street:
For more on MACo’s 2015 legislation, visit the Legislative Database.