051023CM0660rSPRINGFIELD — Legislation spearheaded by State Senator Ann Gillespie that will ensure township community mental health boards can collect the revenue needed to operate is one step closer to becoming law.

“Residents voiced their support for these boards, and they want to see more investment in mental health care,” said Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “This is a sensible fix that will allow townships to move forward with their mental health boards and expand these vital services.”

Community mental health boards, or 708 boards, are appointed panels that levy property taxes to fund local organizations and community mental health initiatives. Boards approved via referendum in the 2022 general election in Addison, Elgin, Lisle, Naperville, Schaumburg and Wheeling townships and Will County did not include required language about how the new tax to fund the board would impact property owners. Because of this, those municipalities would be unable to collect the funds needed to operate.

Senate Bill 690 will guarantee the results of last year’s referendums, allowing affected municipalities to levy the tax necessary to fund the boards. Under this measure, townships that already approved a community mental health board in 2022 will be prohibited from re-submitting the referendum in 2024.

“In Illinois and across the country, there is a growing need for community mental health partnerships, resources and programs,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “Schaumburg and Elgin township residents approved the creation of vital mental health boards in their communities to address this need for support — and this measure ensures those boards can begin collecting the revenue needed without further delay.”

“I am truly grateful for the local leaders across Illinois who spent countless hours successfully fighting for more mental health funding in their communities,” said State Representative Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove). “Because of Senate Bill 690, all community mental health boards approved in 2022 can be fully funded and begin investing in critical services as soon as next year.”

“Too many people in our community, and communities across this state, have had to overcome mental health problems without the help they deserve,” said State Representative Mary Beth Canty (D-Arlington Heights). “I am proud to help advance their cause by putting my support behind this measure, a commonsense approach to guarantee more funding goes toward vital mental health services.”

“The voters have already spoken and want to support increased mental health services in their areas,” said State Representative Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights). “We need to move forward with those efforts.”

Senate Bill 690 passed the House on Wednesday and heads to the governor.