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April 19, 2022


Behavioral health bill directs $5 million in federal funds for Colorado land-based Tribes to develop a behavioral health facility

DENVER, CO – House committees today passed two bills sponsored by Representative Barbara McLachlan that will increase access to behavioral health care for Colorado’s land-based tribes and help law enforcement departments hire new officers.

SB22-148, sponsored by Representatives McLachlan and Marc Catlin, is part of the legislature’s ongoing commitment to addressing Colorado’s behavioral health crisis using $450 million in federal pandemic relief funds secured in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). To further Colorado Tribes’ ability to provide culturally responsive behavioral health care in specialized facilities, this bill will provide a one-time $5 million grant to Colorado land-based Tribes to support building or renovating a tribal behavioral health facility for inpatient services and transitional housing. The bill passed 12-0.

“The bills we advanced today focus on critical issues facing rural Colorado communities,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “Our bill will break down arbitrary barriers in order to help rural law enforcement departments hire new officers and bolster their workforce. We’re also dedicating $5 million in federal funds to increase access to critical behavioral health care services for Colorado’s land-based tribes.”

“HB22-1371 will help boost rural law enforcement departments by helping them hire new officers,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “By allowing departments to hire officers that have not yet become Colorado residents, we’ll open up the talent pool and remove red tape that prevents dedicated people from serving our communities and give them the opportunity to find affordable housing.”

HB22-1371, sponsored by Representatives McLachlan and Dylan Roberts would help rural law enforcement departments hire new officers by removing the requirement that peace officers be a Colorado resident. This will broaden the talent pool from which departments can recruit new officers.

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