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Senator Jane Nelson: District 12
Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2014
Contact: Megan Hanson
512-463-0112
SUNSET ADVISORY COMMITTEE HOLDS FIRST DECISION HEARING

AUSTIN – Today the Texas Sunset Advisory Committee, chaired by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, considered proposed changes and additions to the Sunset reports for the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). The Commission approved 46 modifications, including one proposed by Senator Nelson to improve Texas' mental health system.

"Sunset did an excellent job of outlining the problems in our mental health system in their report, and I believe my modification will help us achieve a better, more accountable behavioral health system," said Senator Nelson. "We made a lot of progress last session on mental health, and the will is there among the Legislature to take another big step forward."

Senator Nelson's mental health system modification is intended to increase local involvement in the hiring and recruitment processes at state hospitals; expand contracting for inpatient beds in the community; better align incentives in our mental health system to achieve outlined goals; ensure that Texas is purchasing outcomes through the mental health contracting process; and strengthen and streamline the stakeholder input process.

The committee also approved the modifications of two workgroups Senator Nelson created to propose changes regarding Sunset's recommendations for State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs) and regulatory programs. Regarding Texas' SSLCs, the committee approved changes that establish a "Restructuring Commission" to determine how many SSLCs should close and report its recommendations to the 85th Legislature for an up-or-down vote, as well as extend the timeline for any closures and require DADS to submit a plan to the Legislature to improve the quality of care at all SSLCs by the end of this year.

"I appreciate the workgroup member's hard work to find an approach that recognizes the value of our state supported living centers, but also addresses challenges with quality of care," said Senator Nelson.

With regard to regulatory programs at DSHS, the committee approved modifications that retained four mental health professions at DSHS; transferred four professions to the Texas Medical Board; transferred 12 profession to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation; and deregulated 11 professions. To view all of the proposed modifications and if they were approved by the Sunset Advisory Committee, please visit the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission's website at www.sunset.texas.gov.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Denton and Tarrant counties. She is chair of the Texas Sunset Advisory Committee and the highest ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.

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