Undercurrent

One new rule survives state regulatory freeze, another stalled by it 

By: - January 24, 2023 1:05 pm

(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration graphic)

The Nevada Board of Health voted on Jan. 20 to authorize a temporary regulation implementing a 35 cent surcharge on phone bills with the proceeds going to the state’s participation in the federal 988 mental health hotline.

Gov. Joe Lombardo earlier this month issued an executive order freezing new regulations and ordering a review of existing regulations by all executive branch agencies, departments, boards, and commissions.

But the order included a half dozen categories of regulations to which the freeze would not apply, and the 988 regulation qualified under at least one of them, according to the state Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH)

“The purpose of this program is to protect public health and safety related to behavioral health crisis. For this reason, the Board of Health was able to proceed,” the DPBH said via email.

The temporary authorization lasts until Nov. 1 with the hopes that the more permanent regulations will be in place afterward, the DPBH said. 

Nevada, along with Virginia, Colorado, and Washington, was one of only four states that set up state 988 funding. Through  Senate Bill 390, the state authorized at most a 35 cent charge per line, per month in Nevada to fund the 988 system including the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, support centers, and mobile crisis teams for persons considering suicide or experiencing a behavioral health crisis.  

The surcharge would generate $15 million annually to support the programming, according to the Nevada Board of Health.

Reciprocity reg put off ‘until further notice’

A hearing on another new regulation that was scheduled to take place Tuesday was postponed because of the governor’s regulatory freeze order. The State Board of Architecture was scheduled to discuss a regulation providing architects certified in other states by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards to be certified in Nevada through reciprocity.

The hearing “has been postponed until further notice per” the governor’s executive order, reads the board’s meeting schedule.

An executive order that Lombardo issued in conjunction with the regulatory freeze addresses state licensing requirements, and aims to “provide a recommended pathway for facilitating licensure reciprocity.”

The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment. 

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Camalot Todd
Camalot Todd

An award-winning, investigative and enterprise reporter, Camalot Todd has over seven years experience in print, digital, radio and TV journalism. She covered mental and behavioral health in New York for Spectrum News 1 Buffalo through the national service program, Report For America, where she won the Mental Health Advocates of WNY Advocacy Award in 2020 for her coverage on mental health stigma. She also served as an inaugural member of the Report For America Corps Advisory Board Member, 2021-2022. Previously, she reported on community issues in Las Vegas, including a long-term project on underage sex trafficking, for the Las Vegas Sun and its sister publication, Las Vegas Weekly. For the Sun, she wrote a pathbreaking investigative piece called, “Children on the Cusp: The transition from foster care to adulthood is leaving some behind.” The piece won the Nevada Press Association best investigative story of the year and named Camalot the Best Community Reporter of 2017. She also worked as a reporter for KUNV radio and is a graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Camalot was selected for National Press Foundation Opioid and Addiction Fellow 2021 and led the Syracuse Press Club's Journalism Lab as an educator from 2021-2022.

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