Bill Must Pass in 2024 or It’s Back to the Drawing Board
If you have followed my Substack for awhile, you know how closely I have reported on certain inherent conflicts-of-interest between Georgia House Rep Todd Jones, as founder of a company, Talitrix, LLC, and legislation he has sponsored during the last two Georgia General Assemblies, HB1013 and HB520. After a few meaningful modifications, HB1013 passed during the 2022 session. HB520, however, presently sits stalled in a senate subcommittee ready to awaken for further consideration once the speaker’s gavel goes down in January.
Because the 2023 bellwether “mental health bill,” HB520, failed to pass the senate, effectively placing the legislation in a state of suspended animation, many have been wondering, OK, what’s next? What are the powers behind HB520 planning to do to energize the possibilities of it passing during the upcoming General Assembly? Whatever that might be, it makes sense that they would start well before the January General Assembly convenes, hoping to gather momentum and garner additional support before the major push begins in January.
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After the 2023 Georgia General Assembly concluded, we didn’t wait long before witnessing a first push to gather support for HB520 in 2024. As I wrote last April in a piece entitled, “No Panaceas in Behavioral Health-Lab Rats Living in a Cage of the mind,” the first shoe in the campaign to pass HB520 in 2024 dropped as the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) partnered with the CLINTON FOUNDATION (that should tell you something) to conduct a MOBILIZE RECOVERY ACROSS GEORGIA BUS TOUR. During that tour of 43 towns and cities in Georgia, DBHDD spent your tax dollars, trolling across Georgia for volunteers to participate in mental health studies and advertising these services around the countryside. That effort was staged to gather support to pass HB520 during the upcoming General Assembly.
And now a draft resolution has surfaced, circulated by the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, designed with “fill-in-the-blanks,” the resolution made available to the respective boards of commissioners of each of Georgia’s 159 counties. Should the county commissioners feel obliged to concur with the resolution, they would simply fill in those blanks, forwarding copies to their respective county senate and house delegations, urging them to…
“continue efforts in the 2024 Session of the Georgia General Assembly to enhance Georgia citizens’ access to vital mental health services, including the provision of state budgetary funding for the additional behavioral heath crisis centers across the state, additional co-responder units, and other resources to assist those with mental health and substance abuse disorders.”
In other words, the resolution urges members of next year’s Georgia General Assembly to pass HB520, left dangling in the Senate Health and Human Services Subcommittee as time ran out in March. This resolution is an attempt to place pressure on each county’s state house and senate delegations to pass HB520 during the 2024 General Assembly, before time runs out.
In the third paragraph, the line, “Chief Justice Boggs’s work on jail diversion,” refers to a perceived need to authorize and fund of a method of tracking individuals whose sentences are diverted outside of jail facilities, in other words, creating an “outside the wire” application of Representative Jones’ tracking/monitoring product, the Talitrix watch. For a full discussion of the conflicts-of-interest HB520 contains, I refer you to my Substack from last February entitled, “Conflicts of Interest, HB 520, Unnamed Mental Health Monitoring Act-How HB520 is Designed to Enrich its Sponsor.”
You can bet the powers behind HB520 will continue to wage war on the minds of Georgians to gain passage of HB520 in 2024. Pressure will continue to build until a final vote for passage might take place.