Families deserve a safe, effective alternative to 911 for mental health emergencies.


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AB 988 – The Miles Hall Lifeline Act: 988 Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Hotline


Introduced by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, District 16


AB 988 creates a new easy-to-remember three-digit phone line, 988, as the new 911 for suicidal and immediate mental health crises. With 988, callers will be connected with around-the-clock intervention, including mobile crisis teams staffed by trained mental health professionals and trained peers instead of law enforcement.


California is facing a mental health crisis. One in 6 Californians now live with a mental illness and suicides have been steadily climbing, increasing by 35% nationally over the last two decades. This tragic trend has only been exacerbated by COVID-19.

For decades, California has failed to provide necessary mental health crisis services amidst this growing mental health crisis. As a result, the police and the criminal justice system as a whole often serve as the state’s default mental health provider. Currently, 10% of law enforcement agencies’ budgets – and 20% of staff time – are spent responding to individuals with mental illness.


As a direct consequence of our overreliance on law enforcement responses to a public health crisis, approximately 25% of all individuals killed in police- involved shootings since 2015 had a known mental illness, with black men dying disproportionately.

In 2019, Miles Hall, a 23-year-old black man living in Walnut Creek, was in the midst of a schizophrenic mental health crisis when his family called 911 for help. Despite being familiar with Miles’ condition, the officers resorted to lethal force within a minute of their arrival.

Law enforcement officers are not mental health experts and should not be expected to serve this role. A better system for Miles and all Californians is possible – one that leads with treatment, not law enforcement.

Last year, both chambers of Congress unanimously passed, and the President signed historic legislation, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, establishing 988 as the new three-digit alternative to 911 for suicidal and immediate mental health crisis response. Before July 2022, when 988 goes live, states must create a framework to receive and respond to calls.

What this bill does

AB 988 implements the national 988 system in California so that all people experiencing a mental health crisis are able to receive life-saving care. Under this bill, the 988 system in California will be implemented in a phased-in approach over 5 years, allowing the state to thoughtfully scale existing crisis services while meeting federally established deadlines.

AB 988 will connect, expand, and integrate three critical pillars of mental health crisis continuums of care:

  • 24/7 access to crisis counseling through call, text, and chat;

  • The deployment of mobile crisis teams, staffed by trained mental health professionals and peers, to respond to crises instead of law enforcement; and

  • Access to crisis receiving and stabilization services, so that individuals in a mental health crisis aren’t left to languish in our emergency rooms and jails.

The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act authorized states to assess a user fee on mobile phone, landline, and other access line bills to fund the “efficient and effective routing of calls, personnel, and the provision of acute mental health, crisis outreach and stabilization services.” This is the same way 911 is funded nationwide.


The user fee established in AB 988 uses the same model of determining the rate as California’s 911 fee. Each year, the Office of Emergency Services will determine the annual budget for operating 988, seek approval from the Legislature, and divide the approved budget by the number of access lines to get the rate, which cannot exceed $0.80 per line per month. The user fee may not be used to supplant existing public funding for mental health crisis services and may only cover services that are not reimbursable through insurance. AB 988 exempts low- income Californians from paying the user fee.


AB 988 follows Congressional guidelines to assess a user fee to ensure universal access to high quality compassionate mental health crisis services.


Support (As of July 2021)

County of Contra Costa (Sponsor)

County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (Sponsor)

Mental Health America of California (Sponsor)
Miles Hall Foundation (Sponsor)
NAMI California (Sponsor)
NAMI Contra Costa (Sponsor)
Steinberg Institute (Sponsor)
The Kennedy Forum (Sponsor)

Alameda County District Attorney’s Office
Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients
All of Us or None
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Anti-Police Terror Project Sacramento
ASCRIBE Educational Consulting
Association of Regional Center Agencies
Autism Deserves Equal Coverage
Black Lives Matter Committee of the African American and Friends of Rossmoor
Bend The ARC: Jewish Action
Cal Voices
California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology
California Alliance of Child & Family Services

California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards & Commissions
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Advisory Committee

California Commission on Aging
California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls

California Democratic Party
California Downtown Association
California Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO
California First Response Transformation, Equity
California Hawaii State Conference NAACP
California Judges Association
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
California Psychological Association
California State Association of Psychiatrists
California State Council SEIU
California State PTA
City of Clayton
City of Concord
City of Cupertino
City of Davis
City of Dublin
City of Lafayette
City of Livermore
City of Martinez
City of Oakland
City of Oakley
City of Orinda
City of Pleasanton
City of San Diego
City of San Pablo
City of San Ramon
City of Walnut Creek
Congregation B’Nai Tikvah
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento V alley
Decarcerate Sacramento
Democratic Party of Contra Costa
Democrats of Rossmoor
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance California

Didi Hirsch, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center Disability Rights California
Economic Opportunity Councuk
Empower to Change
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund
Fountain House
Indivisible Resisters Walnut Creek
Jewish Family and Child Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Justice 2 Jobs Sacramento
Justice Unites Individuals & Communities Everywhere League of California Cities
Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland
Kelechi Ubozoh Consulting
Manzanita Services, Inc.
Mental Health & Autism Insurance Project
Mental Health Association of San Francisco
M.H. First Community First Response
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Mobilize 4 Mental Health
Ms. Mable Sparrows Inc.

Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church Racial Justice Team

NAACP Youth Council
NAMI Greater Los Angeles County
NAMI of San Gabriel Valley
National Association of Social Workers California National Union of Healthcare Workers
New Creation Church
NorCal Resist
North Los Angeles County Regional Center
Peninsula Temple Sholom
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
Power to Resist
Public Health Advocates
Re:Store Justice
Sacramento Area Congregations Together
Sacramento Street EMS, District 1
Sacramento Valley Psychological Association
San Diego County District Attorney’s Office
San Francisco County Board of Supervisors Shatterproof
Showing Up for Racial Justice Contra Costa County Showing Up for Racial Justice Sacramento
Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Social Justice Politicorps
Sunrise Movement Sacramento
Temple Akiba of Culver City
The California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards and Commissions

The Mamahood

The People’s Budget Sacramento The Trevor Project
Tides Advocacy
Town of Danville

Truth Love Justice
Well Being Trust
WellSpace, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center Women’s March Contra Costa

2,641 Individuals

Legislative Caucus Endorsements

LGBT Caucus
Jewish Caucus


John Skoglund
Legislative Director
(p): (916) 319-2016
(e): John.skoglund@asm.ca.gov

Downloadable fact sheet

Downloadable FAQ

On September 3, 2021, the Department of Health Care Services announced it will invest $20 million in California’s network of emergency call centers to support the launch of a new 988 hotline. See press release here.  

Help Pass The Miles Hall Lifeline Act AB 988

The original bill is linked here.

5/13/21 amended bill is here.

5/24/21 amended bill is here.

6/22/21 latest version of bill is here.

2/23/22 See State Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 5 update on Implementing a 9-8-8 Behavioral/Mental Health Hotline found on page 39.

Links to Analyses can be found in the Bill History below.

Individuals Sign the Petition


Families deserve a safe, effective alternative to 911 for mental health emergencies. Sign the petition to show your support!


Call your State Representatives

Contact your Representatives to let them know why you support AB 988. State your name and address and identify yourself as the legislator’s constituent. Briefly state you are calling in support of AB 988 and state why. Have your thoughts organized in advance to help you to keep the call brief and to the point. It is also very helpful to share how the issue affects you personally. 

Bill History - Active Bill in Floor Process

For an overview of the legislative process, click here.

The Senate was adjourned until September 7th, 2021.

06/24/21  Action rescinded whereby the bill was re-referred to the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications.

06/24/21  Re-referred to Senate Committees on Governmental Organization, Health, and Utilities & Energy.

06/22/21  From committee chair, with author's amendments: Amend, and re-refer to committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Committee on Rules.

06/16/21  Referred to Senate Committee on Rules.

06/03/21  In Senate. Read first time. To Rules Committee for assignment.

06/02/21  Assembly third reading.Passed. Ordered to the Senate. (Ayes 70. Noes 0.)

05/25/21  Read second time. Ordered to third reading. See Assembly Floor Analysis.

05/24/21  Read second time and amended. Ordered returned to second reading.

05/20/21  From committee: Amend, and do pass as amended. (Ayes 12. Noes 4.) (May 20).

05/20/21  Joint Rule 62(a), file notice suspended.

05/19/21  Appropriations Committee Hearing. Referred to Appropriations Suspense file. See Assembly Appropriations Analysis.  

04/29/21  Passed Communications & Conveyance and re-referred to Appropriations ( Ayes 10. Noes 0.) (April 28).

04/29/21  Co-authors revised. 

04/28/21  Communications & Conveyance Committee Hearing. See Assembly Communications Analysis

04/21/21  Passed Health Committee and re-referred to Communications & Conveyance (Ayes 11. Noes 2.) (April 20)

04/20/21  Health Committee Hearing. See Assembly Health Analysis.

03/04/21  Referred to Committees on Health and Communications & Conveyance.

02/19/21  From printer. May be heard in committee March 21.

02/18/21  Read first time. To print.

In 2020, Congress approved 988 as a 24/7 nationwide calling code for mental health emergencies.

The 998 Implementation Act provides federal support, guidance and funding for states to enact 988 and crisis services, to ensure that it’s not just a number you call but a resource to connect you to services on the ground, including trained first responders and crisis centers when needed.

Dedicating a number for people in crisis won't help if we fail to provide them with resources on the ground. The 988 Implementation ensures Americans can access services when they need them.

988 Implementation Act 4.png

We Support the 998 Implementation Act