This Session’s Christmas tree bill, House Bill 5050, contains $1.75 million to help implement two mental health-public safety bills, Senate Bill 973 B and Senate Bill 24 B

SB 973 B establishes the Improving People’s Access to Community-based Treatment, Supports and Services (IMPACTS) program within the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC). $10.6 million of general funds are directly allocated under SB 973 B to the CJC to fund community based grants; the additional Christmas Tree bill funding of $1.75 million is allocated to the Judicial Department to help with both SB 973 B and SB 24 B. 

The purpose of the IMPACTS program is to provide grants to counties, Oregon’s federally-recognized tribal nations, and regional consortiums to strengthen supports and services for people with serious mental illness and substance addiction with the aim of reducing arrests, incarceration, emergency room visits, and Oregon State Hospital (OSH) admissions. A 19-member committee staffed by CJC will be responsible for making grant decisions for the IMPACTS program. 

SB 24 B makes changes to the fitness to proceed statutes for mentally ill individuals who are arrested and awaiting trial, but need to be restored to competency before they can “aid and assist” with their own criminal defense. SB 24 B prohibits the commitment to the OSH of persons charged with municipal violations and only allows for the commitment to OSH for misdemeanors when a hospital level of care is necessary. It requires courts to consider ordering rehabilitation services in the least restrictive setting possible, such as community-based treatment.  SB 24 B allows courts to order alternative disposition of defendant’s cases other than the use of the OSH.

HB 5050 is anticipated to pass the House floor on June 29, and will then be sent to the Senate for a vote.

For questions on either bill or associated funding, contact Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) Legislative Affairs Manager, Andy Smith.

Contributed by: Andy Smith | Legislative Affairs Manager