New bill would create sustainable source of funding for Oregon crisis services
SALEM, Ore. (KPTV) - A public hearing was held Monday night for a new house bill that aims to create revenue for crisis services in Oregon.
House Bill 2757 would create a sustainable line of revenue for crisis services, including the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has encouraged Oregonians to email legislators in support of the bill and spoke in favor of the bill at a public hearing Monday night.
Much of the testimony from the hearing was in support of the bill. Many shared their emotional stories about how mental health and suicide have impacted their lives. But there was some opposition to the bill, largely from those in the telecommunications industry.
“You’re likely not aware that both of parents attempted suicide. Growing up on the Oregon coast, there were no resources available for people in crisis, and both of my parents at separate times on their darkest days attempted to take their lives,” said Salem Mayor Chris Hoy.
“We would encourage the state legislature to use state appropriations and utilize federal funds to support the 988 program. If the state cannot find the funds to support 988 through state appropriations, the bill should be amended to ensure that any new tax is limited and the amount is justified by data,” said Jake Lestock, director of State Legislature Affairs, CTIA.
Some worry that a tax on phone services could impact access to the internet, which many people get through their cell phone.
Those who support the bill say that without it, funding for 988 and mobile crisis teams will come from multiple disjointed revenue streams, and the services will be underfunded and not implemented properly.
Copyright 2023 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.