After four and a half months, the 87th Texas Legislative Session concluded on May 31, 2021. Over 7,000 bills were filed, and NBHP tracked more than 200 related to mental health and substance use disorders. NBHP conducted more than 30 virtual and in-person legislative meetings; provided 8 written and oral testimonies; and mobilized more than 170 advocates to send over 1,500 messages to their legislators on important mental health and substance used disorder-related bills.
Thanks to our collective efforts, dozens of behavioral health-focused bills passed, including three of NBHP’s priority bills. They are:
- HB 4, which will expand telehealth service access, including for behavioral health care;
- HB 133, which will extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from two months to six months; and
- HB 707, which will require a study regarding the expansion of recovery housing in Texas.
Budget-wise, mental health and substance use disorder services were able to maintain level funding, as well as secure an additional $40 million over the biennium to fund 168 indigent beds at the new UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center.
We want to thank everyone who advocated for bills, provided testimony, submitted comments, engaged in advocacy alerts, made phone calls to legislators, etc. Your efforts helped make meaningful change for behavioral health in Texas.
Now as we move into the interim period between sessions, be sure to stay tuned for other NBHP state and local advocacy projects to come!