Alabama’s affiliate of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) presented Senator Gudger, R- Cullman, and Representative Shedd, R- Fairview, with “Legislator of the Year” awards for sponsoring bills in the Senate and the House to help expedite the process for people who are living with a mental illness who had been committed in to outpatient services for 150 days obtain a quicker review through the probate courts so that they can receive the services they need in a timely manner. Senate Bill 246 was the first to pass.
On June 6, 2019 Governor Kay Ivey signed off on SB246 to “amend Sections 22-52—10.2 and 22—52—10.3, Code of Alabama 1975, to provide that the probate court issue a renewal of an involuntary commitment order for treatment of a mentally ill person if it finds, after a hearing, that the person is in need of further care; to add a new Section 22—52-10.10, Code of Alabama 1975, to provide procedural requirements for such a renewal.”Details of the bill can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at http://arc-sos.state.al.us/ucp/B19157AA.AK2.pdf.
This bill is also what sparked the focus of the Alabama State Legislature on the 2020 Mental Health package announced by Senate Majority Leader last week.
On Thursday, March 4, 2020 Graham Champion, a volunteer lobbyist for NAMI, presented the award to both legislators in Montgomery. In response to the question of why NAMI was presenting these two with an award Champion stated, “They have provided an avenue for people with a mental illness to get the services they need in a timely manner. Their support of people living with a mental illness is greatly appreciated.”
“It’s very humbling to be recognized on this important issue,” said Representative Shedd. “Even better news about mental health will be coming this year!”
Representative Shedd is referring to the five-piece package of legislation that the House Majority Leader, Nathan Ledbetter announced last week. Shedd and Gudger both carried resolutions to their respective chambers to establish 3 Mental Health Crisis Centers in Alabama that the sate will be funding for a total of 18 million dollars. The other four pieces will aid in other areas of mental health services provided around the state.
Senator Gudger stated, “Mental Illness is an epidemic throughout the state this is now getting the funding and the attention, it desperately deserves. This is just the beginning and I look forward to creating a better Alabama for individuals who live with this illness and their families.”