BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ISSUES IN THE 2011 LEGISLATURE
Excerpted from: "DISABILITY ISSUES IN THE 2013 LEGISLATURE, STATUS REPORT #6" - By Jim Jackson, Executive Director, DISABILITY RIGHTS NEW MEXICO
Behavioral Health/Mental Health
HB 77 Regulation of Certain Firearm Sales. Rep. Miguel Garcia. This bill would regulate the
purchase of firearms at gun shows. As amended, it would also require the state Administrative Office
of the Courts to report to the FBI information about persons involuntarily committed to a mental health
facility by court order, as required by federal law, in conjunction with the national database used for
background checks of persons seeking to purchase firearms. The bill makes the information
transmitted confidential. Passed the House 43 - 26; SPAC/SJC.
HB 174 Native American Suicide Prevention. Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage. Appropriates $155,000
to the Veterans Services Department for a youth suicide prevention program in northwestern New
Mexico, using Native American veterans as counselors. Identical to SB 162, below. Passed HHGIC,
pending in HAFC.
HB 208 Choice of Mental Health Counselors. Rep. Miguel Garcia. This bill would put into law the
right of insured persons to choose their own mental health therapist from among those therapists who
are part of their insurance company’s provider network. Passed HHGIC, pending in HJC.
HB 217 Native American Youth Suicide Prevention. Rep. James Roger Madalena. Appropriates
$300,000 to the Human Services Department to support three Native American youth suicide
prevention programs at $100,000 each, in rural, frontier and urban communities. Passed HHGIC,
pending in HAFC.
HB 220 Involuntary Mental Health Evaluations. Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert. Under current state
law, a peace officer may detain and transport an individual involuntarily to a mental health facility for
evaluation if a physician or psychologist certifies that the individual, as a result of mental disorder,
presents a likelihood of serious harm to self or others and that immediate detention is necessary to
prevent such harm. This bill would allow certain additional licensed mental health practitioners to
provide the certification that would authorize involuntary evaluation, and allow them to admit
individuals into evaluation facilities. Passed HHGIC; pending in HJC.
HB 287 McKinley County Behavioral Health Services. Rep. Ken Martinez. Appropriates $500,000
to the Department of Health to provide behavioral health services to Native Americans in McKinley
County. Passed HHGIC; pending in HAFC.
HB 442 Reporting Persons Ineligible to Purchase Firearms. Rep. Paul Pacheco. This bill would
require the state Administrative Office of the Courts to obtain and report to the FBI information about
persons involuntarily committed to a mental health facility by court order or found by a court to be
incapacitated and dangerous to themselves or others, in conjunction with the national database used for
background checks of persons seeking to purchase firearms. Further action on this bill may be
deferred in favor of HB 77 (above) which now contains a similar provision. HHGIC/HJC.
HB 511 Mental Health Training Requirements. Rep. Ed Sandoval. This bill would require
correctional officers, jailers and firefighters to complete courses on crisis management and interactions
with persons with mental impairments (such as mental illness, brain injury, autism or developmental
HB 588 Involuntary Mental Health Treatment Through “Community Engagement”. Rep. Rick Miera.
This bill allows any interested person to seek a court order to allow a “community engagement team”
to work with certain persons with mental illness to access needed services and to assess the
individual’s capacity to make their own decisions. The CET would focus on persons with a mental
illness who are believed to lack such capacity and who are "unlikely to be able to live safely in the
community" but are not presenting an immediate danger to themselves or others. The CET would be
able to petition for a court-ordered evaluation and for the appointment of a treatment guardian.
Members of the CET would be immune from civil or criminal liability if acting in good faith and
without malicious intent. DRNM has a number of concerns about this bill. HHGIC/HJC.
HJM 19 Children’s Mental Health Task Force. Rep. Gail Chasey. Calls for a task force to improve
and promote early childhood services and specifically to develop an early childhood mental health
plan. Passed the House 37 - 23; SRC/SPAC.
HM 51 Bilingual Behavioral Health Professionals. Rep. Rick Miera. This memorial requests the
Health Policy Commission to study the causes of the shortage of bilingual behavioral health
professionals and make recommendations to overcome these barriers. HHGIC.
SB 19 School-based Behavioral Health. Sen. Mary Kay Papen. As amended, this bill appropriates
$2.5 million to the Department of Health to support behavioral health services to students from prekindergarten
through 12th grade. Passed SEC, pending in SFC.
SB 162 Native American Suicide Prevention. Sen. John Pinto. This bill is identical to HB 174,
above. Passed SIAC, pending in SFC .
SB 271 Involuntary Mental Health Evaluations. Sen. Mary Kay Papen. This bill is similar to HB 220,
above, dealing with the question of which professionals can authorize an involuntary pick-up by a
police officer for a mental health evaluation. As amended, this bill allows certain mental health
professionals licensed for independent practice, such as a social workers, advance practice nurses, and
mental health counselors, to provide the certification that would authorize the police to pick up people
for an involuntary evaluation at a mental health facility. The new version of the bill does not include
marriage and family therapists, and maintains the requirement that only a physician or psychologist
can authorize admission to a mental health evaluation facility. Passed SPAC; pending in SJC.
SB 447 Native American Suicide Prevention Council. Sen. Benny Shendo and Rep. Sandra Jeff. This
bill would establish an advisory council to the state behavioral health purchasing collaborative to
provide advice to the state clearinghouse for Native American suicide prevention. The council would
be made up of representatives from the various Native American communities in New Mexico. Passed
SIAC; pending in SPAC.
SB 558 Peer Support Workers. Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino. This bill sets up a board that would adopt
rules and requirements for behavioral health peer support workers in mental health and substance
SM 33 Taking Advantage of Federal Mental Health Funds. Sen. Jacob Candelaria. This memorial
points out that under the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of millions of dollars have been made
available for behavioral health and substance abuse prevention and treatment, but New Mexico has
received very little of this funding. The memorial calls upon the state to become more proactive in
seeking such funds to improve and expand these services. SRC/SPAC.