Mental health crises; DCJS to assist DBHDS, etc., with development of Marcus alert system. (HB5043)

Introduced By

Del. Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond) with support from co-patron Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Mental health awareness response and community understanding services (Marcus) alert system. Provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) shall develop and establish a mental health awareness response and community understanding services (Marcus) alert system throughout the Commonwealth. The bill directs DBHDS, in collaboration with DCJS, law enforcement, and other stakeholders, to submit a plan for the establishment of a Marcus alert system no later than July 1, 2021. The bill directs DCJS to develop a plan by July 1, 2021 outlining (i) DCJS's and law-enforcement agencies' roles and engagement with the development of the Marcus alert system; (ii) DCJS's role in the development of minimum standards, best practices, and the review and approval of the protocols for law-enforcement participation in the Marcus alert system; and (iii) plans for measuring progress toward the goals for law-enforcement participation in the Marcus alert system. The bill provides that DBHDS and DCJS shall collaborate to ensure that DBHDS maintains purview over best practices to promote a behavioral health response through the use of a mobile crisis response to behavioral health crises whenever possible, or law-enforcement backup of a mobile crisis response when necessary, and that DCJS maintains purview over requirements associated with decreased use of force and body-worn camera system policies and enforcement of such policies in the protocols established pursuant to the bill. The bill provides that, by December 1, 2021, DBHDS shall establish five Marcus alert programs and community care or mobile crisis teams, one located in each of the five DBHDS regions. By July 1, 2023, DBHDS shall establish five additional Marcus alert system programs and community care or mobile crisis teams in such regions. Community services boards or behavioral health authorities that serve the largest populations in each region, unless previously selected, shall be selected for the five additional programs. Additional systems and teams are to be established in subsequent years and, by July 1, 2026, all community services board or behavioral health authority geographical areas shall have established a Marcus alert system that uses community care or mobile crisis teams. The bill provides that, by July 1, 2021, every locality shall establish a voluntary database to be made available to the 9-1-1 alert system and the Marcus alert system to provide mental health information and emergency contact information for response to an emergency or crisis. By July 1, 2022, every locality shall have established local protocols that meet requirements developed by DBHDS for (a) diversion of certain 9-1-1 calls to crisis call centers and (b) the participation of law enforcement in the Marcus alert system. Also by July 1, 2022, every locality shall have established protocols for law-enforcement participation in the Marcus alert system. A "community care team" is defined in the bill as a team of mental health service providers, and may include registered peer recovery specialists and law-enforcement officers as a team, with the mental health service providers leading such team, to help stabilize individuals in crisis situations. A "comprehensive crisis system" is defined in the bill as a continuum of care established by DBHDS and DCJS and includes a crisis call center, community care and mobile crisis teams, crisis stabilization centers, and the Marcus alert system. A "mental health awareness response and community understanding services (Marcus) alert system" or "Marcus alert system" is defined in the bill as a set of protocols to (1) initiate a behavioral health response to a behavioral health crisis, including for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis secondary to mental illness, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, or any combination thereof; (2) divert such individuals to the behavioral health or developmental services system whenever feasible; and (3) facilitate a specialized response by law enforcement when diversion is not feasible. A "mobile crisis team" is defined in the bill as a team of one or more qualified or licensed mental health professionals and may include a registered peer recovery specialist or a family support partner. This bill is identical to SB 5038. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


08/17/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 08/18/20 20200715D
08/17/2020Referred to Committee on Public Safety
08/25/2020Reported from Public Safety with substitute (13-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
08/25/2020Referred to Committee on Appropriations
08/25/2020Committee substitute printed 20201023D-H1
08/31/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB5043H1)
09/02/2020Impact statement from DHCD/CLG (HB5043)
09/04/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
09/04/2020Reported from Appropriations with substitute (21-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
09/04/2020Committee substitute printed 20201114D-H2
09/08/2020Read first time
09/09/2020Read second time
09/09/2020Public Safety Committee substitute rejected 20201023D-H1
09/09/2020Appropriations Committee substitute agreed to 20201114D-H2
09/09/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB5043H2
09/10/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB5043H2)
09/10/2020Passed by until after Resolutions Regular Calendar
09/10/2020Read third time and passed House (57-Y 39-N)
09/10/2020VOTE: Passage (57-Y 39-N) (see vote tally)
09/15/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
09/15/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
09/16/2020Reported from Judiciary with substitute (8-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
09/16/2020Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations
09/16/2020Committee substitute printed 20201198D-S1
09/17/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB5043S1)
09/24/2020Reported from Finance and Appropriations (12-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
09/25/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (36-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
10/01/2020Passed by temporarily
10/01/2020Read third time
10/01/2020Reading of substitute waived
10/01/2020Committee substitute agreed to
10/01/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB5043S1
10/01/2020Passed Senate with substitute (24-Y 15-N) (see vote tally)
10/02/2020Placed on Calendar
10/02/2020Senate substitute rejected by House (0-Y 95-N)
10/02/2020VOTE: Adoption (0-Y 95-N) (see vote tally)
10/07/2020Senate insisted on substitute (24-Y 12-N) (see vote tally)
10/07/2020Senate requested conference committee
10/07/2020House acceded to request
10/07/2020Conferees appointed by House
10/07/2020Delegates: Bourne, Hope, Kilgore
10/07/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
10/07/2020Senators: McPike, McClellan, Stuart
10/14/2020C Amended by conference committee
10/14/2020Conference substitute printed 20201343D-H3
10/14/2020Passed by temporarily
10/14/2020Conference report agreed to by House (59-Y 38-N)
10/14/2020Passed by for the day motion rejected (18-Y 20-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
10/14/2020Motion to reconsider passed by for the day agreed to (39-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
10/14/2020Passed by for the day
10/14/2020VOTE: Agreed To (59-Y 38-N) (see vote tally)
10/16/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (26-Y 12-N) (see vote tally)
10/21/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB5043H3)
10/28/2020Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB5043ER)
10/28/2020Impact statement from DPB (HB5043ER)
10/28/2020Signed by Speaker
10/30/2020Signed by President
10/30/2020Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on October 30, 2020
10/30/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., November 6, 2020
11/05/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 41 (Per Article IV, Section 13, this bill will be effective on the
11/05/20201st day of the 4th month following the month of adjournment, sine die, of this special session)
11/05/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0041)
11/05/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 41 (effective 3/1/21)


AV Milstein writes:

I support this bill. A mental health crisis should be responded to by a mental health response team. Police officers are not trained to deal with this situation and the presence of them never makes people feel at ease.

Richard Ashley writes:

This bill represents important progress on a issue vitally affecting a substantial number of citizens' lives. I wholeheartedly support it.