In a rare display of bipartisanship, 52 Democrats and 39 Republicans in the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015 (H.R. 1854). An identical bill passed the Senate at the end of last year.
The bill would authorize funds for a “sequential intercept” model, which provides interventions for dealing with people with mental illness at various stages of the criminal justice process. It would also provide grants for emergency and crisis services, alternatives to jail, and training for police.
In early January, the bill was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee and headed for consideration by the full House of Representatives. As of April 20, 2015, Representative Mark Pocan was not listed as a co-sponsor, although the bill would authorize funding for many of the recommendations about criminal justice made to the Dane County Board of Supervisors. I received an email from his staff expressing general concern about the problems addressed by the legislation but no statement of support.
www.govtrack.us has more information about this legislation and enables users to track any bill.