State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, announced a bill Friday that would give counties more flexibility when spending funds earmarked for mental health services.Moorlach’s bill would expand what local jurisdictions can spend from their share of Proposition 63 funding.
“Prop. 63 is very limited in the way it can be spent and so our county is getting its emergency rooms clogged up and they don’t have enough psychiatric beds,” Moorlach told City News Service. “Our county doesn’t even have a designated place for psychiatric beds.”
Moorlach hopes the county can use its share of the Prop. 63 money to build a psychiatric ward that would function as an emergency room for patients “with a mental health crisis,” the senator said.
“It’s just a way to change the state code just a little bit so the county of Orange and others can feel comfortable reallocating funding,” Moorlach said.
Because the funding is restricted to “new services,” sometimes the money is spent on things such as coloring books, Moorlach said.
“So it hasn’t been anything that would really help,” he said.
Moorlach has already gotten good feedback from Democrats on his proposal, he said.
“I expect a lot of support from Dems once it’s heard in committee,” he said.
Last month, Moorlach joined an effort with former state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, former president Pro Tem, and state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, to help with a plan to create housing for the mentally ill.
When Moorlach was on the Orange County Board of Supervisors he championed the adoption of Laura’s Law, which gives officials the authority to place the mentally ill in treatment even if they do not wish to do so.
— City News Service
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