Smith, Peterson laud record mental and behavioral health funding in 2019-21 capital budget

On Sunday, the Washington State Legislature approved the 2019-21 capital budget. The $4.9 billion budget includes a record $308.1 million in funding for mental and behavioral health facilities:

  • $120 million in Behavioral Health Capacity grants for community mental health facilities;
  • $35 million from the Housing Trust Fund for supportive housing with wrap-around services for the chronically mentally ill;
  • $33.7 million to plan and design a behavioral health teaching facility run by the University of Washington (House Bill 1593);
  • $64.4 million for patient safety and other necessary upgrades at Western and Eastern State Hospitals; and
  • $55 million to increase and improve capacity at Western State Hospital and new state-run community settings.

Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, assistant ranking member of the House Capital Budget Committee and lead on the mental and behavioral health portion of the budget, released the following statement:

“In this capital budget, we are making historic investments to build out the mental and behavioral health safety net across the state. Past failures in this space have been well-documented, but Republicans and Democrats came together this session to say, ‘It doesn’t have to be this way any longer.’ We are casting a new vision for Washington state, and I am so proud to be a part of it. These investments are going to offer hope and change lives for the better. With these dollars, we will be training another generation of people who will invest their hearts, lives and careers into those who are hurting, helping them regain hope for their futures. Together, we are making mental and behavioral health the priority it should be, and I am so grateful to members on both sides of the aisle for that. I especially want to thank Rep. Strom Peterson, my partner in this effort, for his excellent work.”

Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, vice chair of the House Capital Budget Committee who co-led on the mental and behavioral health portion of the budget, released the following statement:

“In my time in the Legislature, the behavioral health needs of our state have only continued to grow. We’ve made some progress on integrating our behavioral and physical health care systems, but our behavioral health capacity and workforce continues to lag behind the demand. This capital budget not only invests in the immediate needs of increasing and improving treatment capacity and community-based services, but also serves as a foundation for the future of our behavioral health system. It was an honor to work on and help pass this budget, which will make a significant difference in the lives of many Washingtonians.”

The 105-day legislative session adjourned April 28.


Washington State House Republican Communications