Improving Colorado’s behavioral health care system is a big priority. I applaud efforts like those of the Behavioral Health Task Force that the legislature formed, as well as the legislation that has come out of the task force that is aimed at improving our system by increasing parity, ensuring accessibility, and lowering costs. Mental illness is not a crime, yet Coloradans who suffer from mental health crises, especially rural Coloradans, often still find themselves in jail cells for their illness. Moreover, in some counties on the Western Slope, local sheriff deputies are the ones who have to transport people in a mental health crisis, which often entails handcuffing the person in crisis and driving many miles to reach the nearest facility. HB20-1284, introduced this past session, would have created a regulatory system to provide secure transportation services for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Policies like this provides steps in the right direction in improving Colorado’s mental healthcare system. I am very proud of the BHTF for focusing on rural Colorado and the issues our communities face in accessing mental health services. When I am your SD-8 Senator, I will collaborate with individuals, organizations, providers, nonprofits and other advocates to identify exactly what our rural communities need and make sure we fix this system and save lives.