Georgia House Speaker discusses House Bill 520, end of 2023 legislative session

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - As the General Assembly wraps up the last few hours of the 2023 session, House Speaker Jon Burns says he’s disappointed lawmakers won’t get a vote on House Bill 520, which includes reforms for mental health treatment.

“We would like to see it move on through. But we understand how the process works here, working in conjunction with our friends in the Senate,” said Rep. Burns.

The bill would expand student loan forgiveness for mental health care providers, create crisis stabilization centers around the state, and expand the provisions for court-ordered outpatient treatment.

The Senate has its own reform bill and hasn’t moved on the House version. Burns said they did agree on more funding for the services available now.

“We know we’ve make significant progress when it comes to funding issues. And that helps move the needle forward. We’re working with our local providers, working with public safety, trying to solve some of the homeless issues.”

He says that some of the initial work on this began last year through the former Speaker, the late David Ralston. He pledges to keep that moving.

“Advocates of mental health issues know they have an ear in the House, have an ear in this building. And we’re going to continue to do that. I’m encouraged. We’ve made progress. We would like to make more.”

He says that will continue through the year even before they reconvene next January.