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20 Sep

Gov. Northam meets with local mental health officials to protect our ‘most vulnerable’  WSET

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — Governor Ralph Northam was in Lynchburg Friday for a meeting withHorizon Behavioral Health. He wanted to talk with the …

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14 Aug

New laws seek to help people with mental illness or dealing with substance abuse get easier access to treatment.

Gov. John Carney signed two bills Tuesday that give Delawareans more access to treatment services and medication.

State Sen. Stephanie Hansen’s bill allows law enforcement to share information about a person suffering from an overdose or mental health crisis with the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

DSAMH Director Elizabeth Romero said once someone is referred to her team, they will do an assessment and identify the right level of care.

“We want to make sure (that) it’s patient-centered, focused on what their needs are, their social support needs are,” she said. “And really connect them to something that will help them in their recovery journey.”

Hansen said many people assumed this was already happening, but this legislation is necessary to get people quickly referred to DSAMH.

“That information will go directly to DSAMH, where a case manager can then be assigned, that person can be directed to services,” she said. “Which is exactly what we need. We needed this yesterday, last month, last year, many years ago, but we finally have it as of today.”

Legislation sponsored by State Rep. David Bentz adds Medication Assisted Treatment to mental health parity laws, which require insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse like other conditions.

It also bars insurance companies from charging more for MAT medications and making patients try a less expensive drug first.

Carney also signed a joint resolution, sponsored by State Rep. Ray Seigfried, asking the Behavioral Health Consortium to make recommendations to increase the number of MAT prescribers.

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10 Aug

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07 Aug

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine proposes more mental health services to prevent mass shootings  WKRC TV Cincinnati

CINCINNATI- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced several proposals Tuesday morning to prevent another mass shooting like the one in Dayton. Many of …

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04 Aug

Ardent “gun rights” supporter Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott tried desperately Saturday to focus on shooters’ “mental health” issues instead of issues such as easy access to assault rifles at a press conference following the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart that left at least 20 people dead.

Abbott once boasted he was “embarrassed” that Texas was second to California in gun sales. He insisted Saturday that the state legislature passed “bill after bill after bill” to protect students from school shootings after eight teenagers and two teachers were fatally shot last year at Santa Fe High School in Texas. One of the bills Abbott signed into law involved arming more teachers. None of the bills involved increased gun control.

Abbott acknowledged that “we did not, as far as I know, evaluate for and plan for an incident like this,” referring to the Walmart shooting. (Watch his comments in the video above beginning at 21:36.)

“That said, I can tell you that perhaps the most profound and agreed-upon issue that came out of” legislative hearings on the school shootings was the “need for the state and for society to do a better job of dealing with challenging mental health-based issues,” Abbott added. “We know that’s a component … probably … to any type of shooting that takes place.” Abbott said funding has been provided “for the state to better address” mental health issues. 

Police have identified the gunman at Walmart as 21-year-old Patrick Crucius, but have said nothing about his mental health. Police and the FBI are investigating a hate-fueled “manifesto” that may be linked to Crucius, authorities revealed at the press conference.

Abbott also said Saturday that “Texas grieves” — and asked for prayers.

Abbott is a favorite of the National Rifle Association, which recently hailed ten pro-gun laws the governor has signed this year. “Governor Greg Abbott has now signed all of the NRA-supported legislation which the Texas Legislature sent him during the 2019 session,” an NRA web site boasted.

In June Abbott vetoed a bill by his legislature making it a state crime to bring guns into secure areas of airports.

His 2015 tweet encouraging Texans to “pick up the pace” by buying more guns was a particular target of several barbs Saturday.

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16 Jul

SACRAMENTO — California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Friday that shores up the state’s biggest electric utilities in the face of catastrophic wildfires and claims for damage from past blazes caused by their equipment.

It requires major utilities to spend at least $5 billion combined on safety improvements and meet new safety standards, and it creates a fund of up to $21 billion that could help pay out claims as climate change makes wildfires across the U.S. West more frequent and more destructive.

“We have a lot to be proud of in this legislation,” Newsom said, before adding lawmakers had more work to do. “This is not fixed. This is not it.”

The fund is only for future wildfire victims. Victims of the most recent wildfires — including the 2018 Northern California fire that destroyed most of the town of Paradise and killed 85 people — are not eligible for the money.

Lawsuits they have filed against Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., which was blamed for causing the fire, will be resolved as part of the utility’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Lawmakers hope the fund will stabilize the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are in danger of having their credit ratings downgraded as a result of lawsuits stemming from wildfire damage.

Newsom said lawmakers still need to address spending money to make homes more resistant to wildfires, something they lawmakers had included in the original proposal but did not make it into the final bill.

“We made the determination that this was the best path,” the Democratic governor said.

The Legislature approved the bill just six days after the final version was published, leading some lawmakers to criticize the rushed process. But Newsom dismissed that criticism. “We’re capable as human beings of doing great things,” he said.

Up from the Ashes, a coalition of wildfire victims, praised the law. Patrick McCallum, the group’s co-chairman who lost his home during a wildfire in 2017, said it puts more pressure on PG&E to settle the lawsuits against it “for adequate, full compensation.”

“It just changes your life completely when you are a fire victim,” McCallum said. “It’s a struggle.”

PG&E spokesman James Noonan said the company is committed to working with state officials on “shared solutions” for wildfire risk.

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12 Jul

California is updating its legal definition of beer to include varieties fermented with fruit, honey, spices or other foods under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Tuesday.

Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association, said the new law won’t change what the average consumer thinks of as beer, which is made from malted grain or a malt substitute. California brewers have already been brewing beers using fruit for flavoring, he said.

Under prior California law, using fruit in the fermentation process required a wine license, but the new law clarifies that beer brewers can use fruit and other ingredients to supplement their products, McCormick said.

The change puts California law in line with federal law, which already allows for fruit and other ingredients to be used during beer fermentation. The new law, AB205 by Assemblyman Tom Daly, will take effect next year.

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