February 12, 2016
The Crisis Intervention Team Training Act
Yesterday, February 12th, South Carolina senate bill, S.1078, the Crisis Intervention Team Training Act (CITTA), was introduced to the senate by Democratic Senator Vincent Sheheen who has partnered with Paton Blough and Rehinge to create this bill. This bill would require a mandate for all South Carolina law enforcement to take Crisis Intervention Team training as part of their education. CIT training teaches law enforcement how to better handle encounters with mentally ill individuals and people under the influence of drugs. CIT has been shown to greatly reduce violent interactions between police and mentally ill individuals, and helps provide proper care to mentally ill people as well. CITTA would also establish a state-wide council that will help manage CIT efforts in the state and help find grant funding for the program.
CITTA is already being cosponsored by Republican Senator Robert W. Hayes, Jr, which means this is a bipartisan bill that requires support from everyone. However, CITTA needs more co-sponsors—that’s where you come in! We need you to contact your local senators and urge them to help cosponsor this bill as well so that it can move further into the Senate. Your efforts helped pass the Mental Health Court Program Act last year, and we can do the same again this year for CIT. Click here to find a list of South Carolina Senators and their districts, along with their contact information. We have also provided an example message/letter/email for you to use to contact them with to push for the co-sponsorship of CITTA, S.1078.
The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act
However, there is a second bill that needs your support as well. Federal house bill HR1854 (formally HR731), the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act, needs your support as well. This bill was originally cosponsored by SC Congressional Representative Trey Gowdy last year. The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act would renew a grant that will help fund mental health courts, CIT training, and other programs throughout the country, including South Carolina. This bill would help fund the Crisis Intervention Team Training Act, as well as the recently passed Mental Health Court Program Act that was passed in SC last year. Now we need to get this bill introduced to the Congressional House floor through Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. These two key house members need to present the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health act so that we can continue funding for these important mental health services!
The following is contact information for both Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, along with an example message/letter/email for you to use when contacting them. Together we can push through these two important pieces of legislation in South Carolina and the nation.
To the honorable Representative Paul Ryan or Representative Kevin McCarthy,
My name is YOUR NAME from YOUR LOCATION, SC, and I am writing you in regards to the House Bill HR1854, the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015. I am requesting that you please bring this bill to the House floor. The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015 would renew an important grant that helps provide funding to mental health care, addiction recovery and veteran care throughout the country, including crucial social programs such as mental health courts and crisis intervention team training. These programs have been proven to reduce recidivism rates, violent interactions between law enforcement and mentally ill individuals, provide care for highly vulnerable citizens, and save the states and the federal government millions of dollars in overspending.
Please do consider bringing the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015 to the House floor in the near future, so that we can help the lives of millions of Americans who need the most care.
1233 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Send an Email: https://paulryan.house.gov/contact/email.htm
2421 Rayburn House Office Building
Send an Email: https://kevinmccarthy.house.gov/contact