State Rep. Warren Petryk
Mental health beds become reality

Representing Wisconsin State Assembly District 93

As the legislature’s fall session continues in full swing, I wanted to take an opportunity to provide an update on a few key pieces of legislation that I have been working on diligently this session so they can become reality.

The first update I would like to share involves a project that was initiated by a piece of legislation that I co-authored with Sen. Bernier and Rep. James last session. Going through a severe mental health crisis can be traumatic, and sometimes it can escalate to the point where someone might need to be suddenly detained. _ Unfortunately, if a western Wisconsinite does find themselves in this crisis, the nearest mental health facility is located in Oshkosh. Not only is this a long drive for someone in need of immediate mental health care, but also, spending upwards of four hours in the back of a police squad car to get to Oshkosh can contribute to even more stress for the individual who is already struggling. That is why we worked hard to get a bill signed into law that would allocate $15 million to create a facility right here in our area at Hospital Sisters Health System.

On Wednesday, the State Building Commission officially released the funds to move this project forward. This needed funding will create 22 psychiatric beds and services between Sacred Health and St. Joseph’s hospitals to serve not just our area, but 28 other counties as well. These beds will keep those during a mental health crisis safe, get them access to services quicker, and keep them closer to their natural support network during this critical period in their life.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate passed Assembly Bill 218 unanimously, a bipartisan piece of legislation I have been working on with Sen. Kooyenga and Rep. Haywood. With nearly 20% of Wisconsin’s workforce needing a license for their job, any delays in getting a license can cause problems for everyone, which is what this bill addresses.

AB 218 would ensure that when someone completes their application for a license in Wisconsin that they have a reasonable expectation to hear back if their license was approved or not. It would require a board to take action on an application within 10 business days or the license would automatically be approved. With the workforce shortage, we need to do what we can to improve and streamline this process. With the passage of AB 218, the bill now goes before the Governor for his signature into law.

October 27, 2021