Monday, August 11, 2008

An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health: On to the Senate.

Our bill, S.B. 2518, (AKA SB 2804), passed the House today in informal session.  It was interesting to watch the process, which began at 11 AM today, and was over at 11:08.  I went over with some colleagues from Health Care for All and MSPCC, two of the leaders in the Children's Mental Health Coalition.   It was so quiet and understated that you might have missed it, if you didn't know what to look for.  The bill is in a grey box, that sat to the side of the podium, from which the Clerk intoned the words that brought it to consideration.  It passed unanimously, without discussion, and the Clerk walked the box over to the Senate clerk's office, where it will wait for the Senate's next informal session.  Almost there.  A simple vote in the Senate and then on to the Governor's office for signature.  The Coalition will have passed an Omnibus bill in one session.

I've decided that one of the hardest things of advocacy in the policy arena is to know when to speak and when to be quiet.  This is a time to be quiet, to allow the tides of the Senate sweep this bill into law.  We who have been working for its passage over the past two years need to be watching, to know when it has happened, so that we can move onto the process of making the law into actual practice.  There is still a lot of work to do, and the Children's Mental Health Coalition isn't done yet, but the work must wait until the process washes the bill up onto the Governor's desk for a signature.  Stay tuned.

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