"The common element of so many of these mass homicides seems to be a level of mental illness there," said Hickenlooper at a lunchtime news conference at the state Capitol. "It connects almost all of these tragedies."
Governor hickenlooper wants to devote $18.5 million of next year's budget to funding mental illness resources. "We're not just going to throw tens of millions at this. We want to really look at each dollar spent and where you get the maximum benefit," he said.
Among the proposals is a plan to devote more than $10 million to create a statewide crisis hotline and five walk-in crisis centers.
Former Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter, a long time advocate for the mentally ill, said she fully supports the plan. "This is a start. I think the best opportunity that we have here is that we are sitting up and listening to these families. These are great resources," she said.
The proposal would also set up a real-time data transfer of mental health adjudication from the state to the FBI. Currently the state sends that information only twice a year to the FBI via CD-ROM. Mental health adjudications are determinations by a judge that classify someone as too mentally ill to own a gun under federal law.