Senator Gillespie speaks into a microphone while on the Senate floor.SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Ann Gillespie passed legislation Wednesday to preserve township mental health boards, ensuring they can collect the revenue needed to operate.

“We’ve seen the value residents place on mental health care — they already approved the tax increases that will fund the creation of these community mental health boards,” said Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “By validating these boards, municipalities can levy the taxes to allow the boards to function as intended.”

Community mental health boards, or 708 boards, are appointed panels that levy property taxes to fund local organizations and community mental health initiatives. Under current law, any 708 board approved after May 13, 2022 must adhere to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law and include language in the referendum about the financial impact on homeowners. Boards approved via referendum in the 2022 general election in Addison, Lisle, Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheeling and Vernon townships and Will County did not include the required PTELL language. Without this language, municipalities would not be able to levy taxes for the board until 2025.

Senate Bill 690 will extend the grandfather date to capture 708 boards approved without PTELL language, allowing affected municipalities to levy the tax necessary to fund the boards. The measure also prohibits townships from placing a mental health board question on a 2024 ballot if the board was already approved via referendum in 2022.

“The 708 boards will play a vital role in ensuring everyone has access to the mental health services they need,” said Gillespie. “I’m pleased we were able to find a solution without requiring additional referendums and prevent future delays in expanding access to mental health care.”

The measure passed the Senate on Oct. 25 and moves to the House for consideration.