The Murphy Bill: Take 2

On Thursday, June 4, 2015 the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act was re-introduced by Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania. It is also known as H.R. 2646 or, perhaps most commonly, as the ‘Murphy Bill.’ Although it is claimed that the second version of this Bill contains several compromises, it seems just as bad as the first.

In fact, it may actually be worse, and here’s why: The second version of this bill uses toned down language and seems like it’s let go of some of it’s original (and more controversial) priorities. However, most of the ‘toning down’ seems superficial in nature, and so what this actually means is that the Bill is all the more likely to get passed while still essentially allowing for the same setbacks, invasiveness and rights violations to those receiving (or targeted as needing) services in the mental health system.

Ultimately, as with the first time this bill was introduced (2013), it suggests many changes to existing laws and programs that pose a serious risk to our work and movement. Some of the most notable points include:

 

There’s a great deal more to this Bill and if you’re interested in reading it for yourself, you can do so here:  http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF14/20150616/103615/BILLS-1142646ih.pdf

A hearing on the Bill was also held on Tuesday, June 16 and should be available for viewing on the Energy & Commerce Committee’s website here:  http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/examining-hr-2646-helping-families-mental-health-crisis-act#video

You may also be interested in reading Harvey Rosenthal’s written testimony for the June 16 hearing below.

Harvey is the Executive Director for the New York Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association Services (NYAPRS) as is a longtime outspoken advocate against Involuntary Outpatient Commitment.

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF14/20150616/103615/HHRG-114-IF14-Wstate-RosenthalH-20150616.pdf

Also of note, Doris Matsui has proposed an alternate Bill, ‘The Including Families in Mental Health Recovery Act.’ While many feel this Bill does not go nearly far enough, others are choosing to support it as a much preferred alternative over the Murphy Bill. You can view this alternate Bill here:

http://matsui.house.gov/uploads/Matsui%20Mental%20Health%20Legislation.pdf

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY:

Call your state Representatives and Senators and tell them you oppose the Murphy Bill (HR 2646) and are asking them to do the same!!!!!

You can find out who your State Representative is here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

You can find out who your State Senator is here: http://www.senate.gov/

The life of a Bill is unpredictable and so it’s not clear how long the Murphy Bill might take to pass or be dismissed, but we hope that you’ll join us in staying on top of what’s happening and what we can do to stop the Murphy Bill. In an effort to support that, we will be launching a ‘Stop the Murphy Bill’ webpage on our website by mid-July to help everyone stay up-to-date. Stay tuned for more!