Feb. SitRep: State mental health legislation

By Renata Hill, Moodfuel

This Situation Report details the what, how and who of mental health-related bills moving through the Colorado statehouse in Feb. during the 74th General Assembly

Legislators focus on youth roadblocks to achieving mental health and expanding substance misuse treatment while providers receive clarifications and additional oversight. In total, 31 mental health-related bills have been introduced this session, five are fast-tracked and three were rejected. None have been signed by the governor into law as of the end of Feb.

↗️ Fast-tracked
πŸ”– Bill sponsor(s)
❌ Rejected


↗️ Children's Behavioral Health Statewide System of Care (SB 059): Requires that the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) partner with other agencies to create a statewide, single-point-of-access for the mental health and substance misuse treatment needs of youth up to 21 years of age regardless of payer, insurance or income and includes screening, mobile crisis response, peer support, intensive in-home and community-based services and respite services.
πŸ”– Sens. Kirkmeyer (R) & Michaelson-Jenet (D) and Reps. Duran (D) & Pugliese (R)

Continue Youth Mental Health Services Program (SB 001): Continues the I Matter program (up to six free, confidential counseling sessions) indefinitely and requires the BHA to evaluate the efficacy of the program annually via youth and provider surveys.
πŸ”– Sen. Michaelson-Jenet and Rep. Kyle Brown (D)

Crisis Resolution Team Program (HB 1019): Requires the BHA to provide community-based services to stabilize youth up to age 21 experiencing mental health crises by contracting with providers to offer counseling, case management, peer support and medication management for a minimum of three days per week.
πŸ”– Reps. Bradfield (R) & Amabile (D) and Sens. Fields (D) & Pelton (R)

↗️ Healthier Social Media Use by Youth (HB 1136): Requires the Dept. of Education (CDE) to maintain resources for schools on the impact of social media on youth mental health and expand programs addressing problematic technology. It requires social media companies to display on-screen warnings about poor mental health outcomes after one hour to users who are minors; the warning must include links to setting screen time limits and health effects data.
πŸ”– Reps. Pugliese (D) & Amabile (D) and Sens. Cutter (D) & Smallwood (R)

High-Acuity Crisis for Children & Youth (HB 1038): Expands emergency programs for youth whose mental health needs require services and treatment in residential child care facilities.
πŸ”– Reps Young (D) & Bradley (R) and Sens. Kirkmeyer (R) & Fields (D)

Increase Access to School-Based Health Care (SB 034): Expands the existing school-based health center grant to include healthcare services, such as mental health, delivered through telehealth, mobile services and clinic referrals.
πŸ”– Sens. Marchman (D) & Kolker (D) and Rep. GarcΓ­a (D)

Opiate Antagonists and Detection Products in Schools (HB 1003): Standardizes students' and school bus drivers' use of fentanyl testing strips and naloxone.
πŸ”– Reps. McLachlan (D) & Young (D) and Sens. Simpson (R) & Michaelson-Jenett (D)

Prohibit Student Seclusion (HB 1167): Prohibits seclusion as a tactic while a student participates in off-campus, school-sponsored activities and requires the State Board of Education to maintain resources on alternatives for school personnel to use.
πŸ”– Rep. English (D)

Student Weight-Based Bullying Prevention (HB 1285): Adds weight-, height- or body size-based bullying to prohibited behaviors in current state law.
πŸ”– Reps. Bradfield, Hamrick (D) & Marchman (D)


Eating Disorder Treatment & Recovery Programs (SB 117): Requires the BHA to regulate eating challenges treatment facilities and mandates that the State Board of Human Services ensure the respect of such patients' rights.
πŸ”– Sens. Cutter (D) & deGruy Kennedy (D)

Licensed Professional Counselors in Communities (SB 015): Creates a reimbursement program for school counselors pursuing a professional counselor license and for licensees who provide clinical supervision.
πŸ”– Sen. Kolker (D) and Rep. Young (D)

↗️ Mental Health Professionals Practice Requirements (SB 115): Modifies various requirements for licensed mental health professionals to practice in the state, including requiring individuals to pass the Colorado Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination to register as a candidate psychologist/clinical social worker/marriage and family therapist/licensed professional counselor/addiction counselor.
πŸ”– Sens. Michaelson-Jenet (D) & Smallwood (R) and Rep. Young (D)

❌ School Mental Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HB 1049): Creates the licensed school mental health professional loan repayment program within the Dept. of the Treasury and administered by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to provide loan repayment of up to $10,000 to eligible school mental health professionals.
πŸ”– Reps. Weinberg (R) & Vigil (D) and Sens. Marchman (D) and Winter (D)

↗️ School Psychologist Licensure Interstate Compact (HB 1096): Allows school psychologists in member states of the new compact to be licensed more easily in other member states.
πŸ”– Reps. Young (D) & Lukens (D) and Sens. Kolker (D) & Marchman (D)

Social Work Licensure Compact (HB 1002): Allows social workers in member states of the new compact to be licensed more easily in other member states.
πŸ”– Reps. Sirota (D) & Martinez (D) and Sens. Marchman (D) & Rich (R)


❌ Workers' Comp for Complex Trauma (HB 1140): Qualifies employees who have experienced psychological trauma as the result of an accidental work injury for workers' compensation benefits.
πŸ”– Rep. Weinberg (R)

Workplace Suicide Prevention Education (HB 1015): Requires the Dept. of Labor and Employment to distribute suicide prevention education content to employers and requires employers to display the content and give it to hired employees.
πŸ”– Rep. Vigil (D) and Sen. Michaelson-Jenet (D)

Rural neighbors

Agricultural & Rural Behavioral Health Care (SB 055): Instructs the BHA to appoint a liaison to the Dept. of Agriculture (CDA) and creates a workgroup and grant program within the CDA. Requires the convening of an in-person, annual summit for organizations supporting mental health in agricultural communities.
πŸ”– Sens. Marchman (D) & Will (R) and Reps. Lukens (D) & Hartsook (R)

Agricultural Workforce & Suicide Prevention (SB 057): Creates the Agricultural Workforce Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Program in the CDA to coordinate suicide prevention with other state agencies, develop a mental wellness plan for agricultural workers and contract with a third party to offer an agriculture crisis hotline.
πŸ”– Sen. Sullivan (D) and Reps. Froelich (D) & Amabile (D)

Suicide prevention

Behavioral Health First Aid Training Program (SB 007): Requires the Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to contract with a third-party to administer a mental health first aid training program through the Office of Suicide Prevention.
πŸ”– Sens. Fields (D) & Michaelson-Jenet (D) and Rep. Titone (D)

Sunset Suicide Prevention Commission (HB 1252): Continues the Suicide Prevention Commission in the CDPHE, which is scheduled to repeal on Sep. 1, 2024.
πŸ”– Reps. Vigil (D) & Bradford (R) and Sen. Michaelson-Jenet (D)

Adult Competency to Stand Trial (HB 1034): Requires the Dept. of Human Services (CDHS) to search for and present prior competency evaluations to a court, delineates a court's options for a defendant who is incompetent to proceed, provides for outpatient competency restoration services and indicates the length of time a defendant has waited for competency restoration services.
πŸ”– Reps. Amabile (D) & Bradfield (R) and Sen. Fields (D)

↗️ Persons Detained in Jail on Emergency Commitment (HB 1079): Prohibits jail as an option for emergency commitments and requires reporting to the BHA on emergency commitments.
πŸ”– Reps. Amabile (D) & English (D) and Sen. Fields (D)

Prohibiting Term Excited Delirium (HB 1103): Prohibits the use of the phrase β€œexcited delirium” in first responder trainings, law enforcement incident reports and cause of death listings on death certificates.
πŸ”– Reps. Amabile (D) & Herod (D) and Sens. Gonzales (D) & Buckner (D)

Substance misuse

Overdose Prevention Centers (HB 1028): Authorizes municipalities to operate overdose prevention centers for at-risk neighbors.
πŸ”– Rep. Epps (D) and Sen. Priola (D)

Prevention of Substance Use Disorders (SB 047): Establishes measures for the prevention of substance misuse, including the creation of a multidisciplinary, multiagency drug overdose fatality review team and a $1,500,000 appropriation to CDPHE for a substance use disorder prevention grant program.
πŸ”– Sens. Jaquez Lewis (D) & Priola (D) and Reps. Young (D) & Epps (D)

Substance Use Disorders Harm Reduction (HB 1037): Clarifies that harm reduction centers may provide drug testing services and use funds for needles/syringes while protecting physicians and harm reduction staff.
πŸ”– Reps. Epps (D) & deGruy Kennedy (D) and Sen. Priola (D)

Substance Use Disorders Recovery (SB 048): Implements substance misuse recovery measures, including creating a voluntary recovery-ready workplace program for employers, declaring that recovery residences and sober living facilities are residential for zoning purposes. It restricts certain alcohol displays by liquor-licensed retailers.
πŸ”– Sen. Priola (D) and Reps. deGruy Kennedy (D) & Lynch (R)

❌ Substance Use Disorder Treatment as Bond Condition (HB 1126): Allows a court to order an individual to participate in a medically guided treatment plan for substance misuse as a condition of bond.
πŸ”– Rep. Lynch (R) and Sen. Pelton (R)

Treatment for Substance Use Disorders (HB 1045): Expands substance misuse treatments programs, defines requirements for pharmacists, district attorneys and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) providers and requires oversight by the BHA and the Dept. Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF).
πŸ”– Reps. Armagost (R) & deGruy Kennedy and Sens. Mullica(D) & Will (R)

Capacity building

Behavioral Health Grant for Capital Project (HB 1176): Expands the community investment grant under the BHA.
πŸ”– Reps. Hamrick (D) & Jodeh (D) and Sens. Buckner (D) & Fields (D)

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Supporting people in recovery from trauma and suicidal intensity is my Why. I live differently abled & am proudly part-Indigenous (Mvskoke).
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