Commentary: A bill sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque) to support behavioral health was vetoed by Governor Susana Martinez. House Bill 160 would have provided interventions for nonviolent offenders who have a behavioral health diagnosis in order to reduce the chances of repeat offenses, detention, and ineffective incarceration.
“We have a behavioral health crisis in our state, and this bill would have provided support for those who desperately need it. This was a common sense measure with bipartisan support aimed at breaking the cycle of incarceration, and I am very disappointed to see that the Governor did not want to prioritize the safety and well-being of our communities. I will continue to fight for access to behavioral health services,” said House Majority Floor Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton.
Although Governor Martinez called this bill “unnecessary and burdensome” in her veto message, the bill would have implemented a contract with the Behavioral Health Services Division of the Human Services Department for behavioral health treatment and support services, including mental health, alcoholism, and other substance abuse services for nonviolent offenders.