Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by First Lady Marty Kemp and their three daughters, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Speaker David Ralston, members of the House and Senate, and mental health advocates, today signed the Mental Health Parity Act (HB1013) into law.
Please see his remarks from the bill signing ceremony below, and you can watch the full ceremony here.
Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us for this historic day.
Mr. Speaker, Lt. Governor, I want to thank you for those remarks, but especially for all the work that you and your staff put into getting this legislation across the finish line.
I also want to thank the many organizations represented here today – who not only helped to study and secure passage of this bill - but who also provide the services and advocacy that impact lives in a very real and personal way.
We’re also honored to be joined by Attorney General Chris Carr, Insurance Commissioner General John King, Presiding Justice Michael Boggs of the Georgia Supreme Court, members of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities board, including Lasa Joiner, and others.
Today has been a long time coming.
Back in 2019 when we created the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, this ultimate outcome was exactly what we had hoped for. In the years since, elected officials, advocates, industry experts, and caring mothers and fathers have met to work hard on what ultimately became this bill.
I want to thank all those who are here with us today, and those who couldn’t be with us, for the diligent work they put in long before this session even began.
With the passage of HB 1013, Speaker Ralston, Spiro Amburn, Lt. Governor Duncan, Macy McFall, and every member of their staffs, Representatives Mary Margaret Oliver and Todd Jones, Senator Brian Strickland, Chairman Kevin Tanner of the Behavioral Health Reform & Innovation Commission, and everyone in the General Assembly have truly made history.
Today, we will fulfill Speaker Ralston’s vision and that of so many others who partnered for this accomplishment to bring hope to the many families across Georgia who have a loved one suffering with some form of mental or behavioral challenge.
Today, we reaffirm to those families and individuals that they matter, that they are cared for, and that their fellow Georgians will not turn a blind eye to their struggle any longer.
Today, we take the next step – a monumental step – toward a Georgia where every person receives the help they need to fight and overcome whatever personal trials they may face.
Today, we make sure that they do not fight alone.
As Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
As I said earlier, countless hours, years of research and policy discussions, and the hopes of tens of thousands of Georgians went into the bill that now sits on that table.
Perhaps the greatest testament to the need for HB 1013, its importance, and its transformational power is the fact that in a time of great political division, this legislation passed with full bipartisan support. That unity is also a testament to the work put in long before this session gaveled in, crafting something that has the support of all parties.
When Georgians come together, both in and beyond the General Assembly, we can do truly great and remarkable things.
I said earlier that Speaker Ralston and the many men and women who worked on this legislation and unanimously voted for its passage made history.
And we’re about to make some more… Let’s sign this bill into law!