Senate approves O’Ban mental-health reform bills

The Senate dedicated Wednesday afternoon to addressing reforms to the state’s mental-health system. Sen. Steve O’Ban, chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health, and Housing Committee has been working to change the way the state delivers essential services and provides mental he-lth treatment. With strong bipartisan support the Senate approved two of his reform bills.

Senate Bill 5889 would make changes to maximum time limits to determine competency to stand trial for criminal defendants. The bill makes needed changes related to a federal court case over wait times for these services.

Senate Bill 5177 would focus on increasing access to competency-restoration services for outpatient treatment.

“These changes to our state’s mental-health system are long overdue,” O’Ban said. “Too many failures have left people in our state without a way to recover from mental illness, and left taxpayers financially liable. We have more work to do to but these two bills are an essential part in changing how the state provides mental-health services that are focused on restoring independence and reducing wait times for services.”