Local lawmakers vote to implement national 988 suicide hotline

Both of Kitsap County’s state Reps. Drew Hansen and Tarra Simmons voted “yes” for House Bill 1477, implementation of the national 988 system to enhance and expand behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services.

The two 23rd Legislative District Democrats were part of the overall House 78-18 approval vote March 17.

In October, U.S. Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020.

The act designates the number 988 as the universal telephone number nationwide for accessing the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline system maintained by Lifeline and the Veterans Crisis Line.

HB 1477 would require the state Department of Health and state Health Care Authority to establish state crisis call center hubs and an enhanced crisis response system to implement the national 988 system in this state.

It would create a 988 Implementation Team and Crisis Response Improvement Strategy Committee to plan for crisis response system enhancements.

The bill would impose new taxes and fees on commercial mobile services or Internet protocol-enabled voice services to pay for activities related to an enhanced crisis response.

March 26 is the last day for policy committees to pass bills sent to them by the opposite chamber.

Fiscal and transportation committees have until April 2 to move bills onto the floor for consideration by the full House and Senate.

For more information on how your lawmakers voted go to www.WashingtonVotes.org.

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