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Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s Landmark Bill to Implement 9-8-8 System Sent to the Governor’s Desk

AB 988 implements the 9-8-8 hotline to provide a mental health response, instead of law enforcement response, for phone calls relating to mental health crises

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s (D-Orinda) landmark mental health emergency crisis response legislation, AB 988, The Miles Hall Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Act, passed the California legislature with bipartisan support and is now on the Governor’s desk.

AB 988 implements California’s vision for the new nationwide 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline, which went live on July 16th, 2022 The new system will provide a critically-needed alternative to 911 and help deploy mental health professionals, rather than police officers, in situations of mental health crises. This bill transforms mental health emergency response and delivers appropriate care that addresses systemic inequalities.

“We have spent the last two years engaging and working with stakeholders in order to strengthen the bill and reimagine behavioral health care and response in this state,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “AB 988 makes California a leader in the nation and ensures that a mental health crisis is treated as it should be, as a health crisis.”

"I lost my child during a mental health crisis when he did not get the resources he needed" said Taun Hall, mother of Miles Hall and cofounder of the Miles Hall Foundation. "AB 988 will save countless lives of people in mental health crisis." 

The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan in partnership with The Steinberg Institute, The Kennedy Forum, Contra Costa County, Los Angeles County, The Miles Hall Foundation, NAMI of Contra Costa County, NAMI California, and Mental Health America of California.

California is one step closer to fully realizing the potential of the new 988 crisis number,said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, founder of The Steinberg Institute. “AB 988 ensures that this new line is the foundation for rethinking how we help people in crisis. It’s critical that this bill passes and gets signed into law.”

"The Senate's passage of AB 988 signals that California is prepared to be a leader in ensuring that mental health emergencies receive a mental health response," said former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, founder of The Kennedy Forum. "Now the Assembly must send this critical bill to the Governor so that California can de-criminalize mental illness, decrease fatal police shootings, and put people on the road to recovery." 

“Through this bill, California can rethink and redesign how we respond to those who are in mental health crisis,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “AB 988 fundamentally changes our approach by putting care and training ahead of confrontation and arrest.”

The bill is co-authored by a bipartisan group of 29 CA Assemblymembers and Senators including Assemblymembers Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Berman (D-Palo Alto), Bloom (D-Beverly Hills), Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Grayson (D-Vallejo), Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Haney (D-San Francisco) Lee (D-Santa Clara), Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), Freddie Rodriguez (D-Chino), Villapudua (D-Stockton), Gipson (D-Los Angeles), Ramos (D-Highland), Lackey (R-Palmdale), Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Stone (D-Santa Cruz), Ting (D-San Francisco), Mullin (D-Redwood City), Akilah Weber (D-San Diego), Wicks (D-Berkeley) and Wood (D-Eureka); and ySenators Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), Eggman (D-Sacramento), Caballero (D- Salinas), Glazer (D-Orinda), Nielson (R-Red Bluff), Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), Umberg (D-Orange County), Wiener (D-San Francisco),  and Leyva (D-San Bernadino).

AB 988 is now on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.