AUSTIN — Senate Bill 8, legislation directing how the state will spend federal dollars allocated to Texas under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, was passed out of the House and Senate on Monday. The legislation includes $40 million for a behavioral health center that will be constructed and operated by the hospital districts of Midland and Ector County. State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland) worked together to ensure the funding was included in the final version of the bill.
“This $40 million to construct a new mental health hospital will improve quality of life in Odessa, Midland and throughout the Permian Basin. Russell Tippin and Russell Meyers worked together, Rep. Tom Craddick and I worked together and Odessa and Midland worked together on this. I’m thankful we were able to get this done for our region that desperately needs better access to mental health services,” Landgraf said.
The center will include 100 inpatient beds and outpatient psychiatric care facilities, along with a crisis stabilization unit, professional offices, and counseling and therapeutic spaces appropriate for all ages. Texans who live in the Permian Basin currently have to drive to Lubbock or San Angelo to access similar care.
“In the weeks and months after the August 31, 2019 mass shooting, local leaders in Odessa and Midland identified the need for additional behavioral and mental health services in our region. COVID-19 put that discussion on hold momentarily. I’m thankful that we kept the drum beat going, and that our communities have come together to accomplish this important goal. I’m proud of our work together,” Landgraf added.
Senate Bill 8 now heads to the governor’s desk for signature, the final stage in the legislative process. If SB 8 is signed into law, it is expected that the Permian Basin behavioral health center will be completed by 2024.