Next week, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) will meet with members of the Obama administration and congressional leaders about improving federal mental health initiatives, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
Details of Trip
On Wednesday, Steinberg said that he is extending his trip to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration to meet with administration officials and congressional leaders -- including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- about increasing aid for national mental health programs.
Steinberg said that while he supports stricter gun control measures -- such as those described in proposals released by President Obama on Wednesday -- he believes that improving mental health services could do more to help prevent violent incidences, such as the December 2012 shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
He said, "It is about identifying people who might be prone to these awful acts, but it's about much more than that," adding, "It's about helping people who can lead good lives, productive lives, if we do the right thing and do the right thing early" (Van Oot, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 1/16).
Steinberg Believes Calif. Could Serve as Model for the U.S.
Last month, Steinberg sent a letter to Vice President Biden urging him to consider California's Mental Health Services Act as a template for national mental health initiatives.
California voters in 2004 passed the Mental Health Services Act, which levied a special tax on high-income residents. The money has been used to help 60,000 state residents, with 20% dedicated to prevention and early intervention.
At a press conference last month, Steinberg also suggested that the federal government agree to match money raised by states to create a national mental health system (California Healthline, 1/3).
Read today's Think Tank for perspectives on using California as a national model of mental health care services.