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S.F. No. 141 - Establishing a Grant Program to Fund Comprehensive Behavioral Health Diversion (First Engrossment)
Author: Senator Barb Goodwin
Prepared By: Joan White, Senate Counsel (651/296-3814)
Date: February 16, 2015


Section 1 (246.4685, subd. 1) requires the Commissioner of Human Services to provide grants to counties or groups of counties to establish comprehensive behavioral health diversion centers for individuals who have a mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorder, who are under arrest or subject to arrest. At least 50 percent of the funds must be awarded to counties in greater Minnesota with a high rate of poverty and limited mental health services. The commissioner may award grants up to $2,000,000 for a county or group of counties. 

Subdivision 2 provides the eligibility criteria for the grants.  To be eligible, a county or group of counties must demonstrate that the county’s or counties’ center will connect with and build on existing resources, and that the center will include the 18 components listed in this subdivision. 

Subdivision 3 encourages grant recipients to include local partners in the private and nonprofit sectors in planning and establishing the center.

Subdivision 4 specifies what must be included in the grant application. 

Subdivision 5 requires a center to maintain data on the extent to which it reduces incarceration rates in the center’s county or counties for individuals with mental illness.  The center must report the outcomes to the commissioner.

Subdivision 6 encourages the Commissioner of Human Services to work with Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Health to provide technical assistance to counties to prevent the incarceration of individuals with mental illness. The Department of Health is encouraged to license additional beds for these centers. 

Section 2 (628.70) allows a peace officer to refer a person with mental illness or a co-occurring condition for whom probable cause exists to arrest or charge with a misdemeanor to a diversion center established under section 1 on the condition that the person is not charged if the person satisfactorily completes the program at the diversion center. A court or prosecutor may refer a person to a diversion center. A prosecutor may, however, charge a person referred to a diversion program with a crime when the prosecutor determines that doing so is appropriate and in the interest of justice. 

Section 3 appropriates $8,000,000 for the biennium for the grant program under section 1.  


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