New Laws Affecting Community Mental Health Boards

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On July 28, 2023, the Governor approved Public Act 103-0274, bringing significant changes to the Community Mental Health Act. These amendments, among other things, clarify the terms of office for mental health board members and redefine the division of fiscal responsibilities as between the mental health board and the governing board of its parent taxing body.

Most significantly with regard to membership, the amendment clarifies that one, and only one, board member shall be a member of the taxing body’s governing board, and that this member’s term on the board shall run concurrently with the member’s elected term of office. For all other board members, terms shall now begin on the first day of the month of appointment, which is a shift from the previous benchmark of the first day of the year of appointment.

More controversially, community mental health boards will now possess the sole authority to determine their own fiscal years and to establish, maintain and execute their own budget. Ultimately, after a series of amendments in the senate, it appears a compromise was struck to allow taxing bodies to retain the power to determine tax levies. However, taxing bodies will now be obligated to appropriate these funds in amounts determined by the mental health board.

These amendments to the Community Mental Health Act are significant, introducing new timelines, roles, and reallocating fiscal responsibilities that may directly impact how community mental health boards operate. Should you have any questions regarding these amendments and how they may affect your organization, or if you require assistance with a local government legal issue, please contact Mark J. Kimzey at mkimzey@airdowerwas.com or (312) 506-4461.

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