By HOUSE MINORITY LEADER DON TURNER (R-Chittenden-10)
Another week has passed, and we’re now counting down the days to adjournment. It’s that time in the session where you seem to spend way too much time sitting around waiting for something to happen. Starts and stops are frequent. It always feels like the Senate is uncooperative and deliberately stalling. This is true much of the time, but it’s all part of the compromise or give-and-take involved in crafting legislation. Nonetheless, I believe the session will come to an end late next week.
Many bills passed the House this week, some familiar and some not. It’s common at this point in the session to see the same language inserted in many different bills. This is done by leadership to ensure the language passes at least one body of the legislature. It is also very common to have role call votes on important bills. A roll call vote is used at times as a signal to the Senate on how important a particular bill is to the House.
It seems the House has passed a number of bills pertaining to mental health this session; S.3 and S.133 are two mental health bills passed this week alone. S.3, an act relating to mental health professionals’ duty to warn, passed unanimously. This bill will clarify when a mental health professional is required to notify authorities when there is risk of a patient harming themselves or others. There is a delicate balance between a patient’s right to privacy and that of public safety. I fully understand and appreciate this balance. I have seen this play out in the field while working on the ambulance. S.133, an act examining mental health care and care coordination, also passed the House this week. This bill takes an in-depth look at the mental health crisis and how it is affecting our state today. The bill begins to outline a more systematic approach to addressing mental health issues and a healthcare system that incorporates mental healthcare. S.133 doesn’t carry an appropriation. I supported passage of both S.3 and S.133.
I look forward to representing you and your concerns in Montpelier. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I can be reached at the State House by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My email address is email@example.com. Thank you, and have a great week.