Four Price - Texas State Representative, Republican, District 87 | Texas Monthly's Best Lawmakers: Four Price

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Texas Monthly's Best Lawmakers: Four Price

July 1, 2017
Texas Monthly

Walter Price IV, better known as Four Price, sometimes gets lost in the shuffle because he makes his work look easy. It’s not. As chair of the Public Health Committee, Price introduced more than a dozen bills to reform how Texas cares for those with mental illness, a historically neglected population. Probably the most significant was House Bill 10, which designated a state ombudsman to oversee access to behavioral health care and push insurance companies to cover treatment for mental health the same as they do physical ailments. It passed the House on a 130–13 vote, and the Senate sent the measure to the governor with only one dissention.

Another piece of his package would require magistrates to hold hearings early in the criminal process to divert some offenders with mental illness or intellectual disabilities from jail to the state mental-health system. He also sponsored a bill requiring school districts to develop tools to identify and help students with mental-health problems.

He did, however, pass a controversial measure to allow the placement of foster children in privately run group homes. Child-welfare advocates spoke against the bill, saying the state should move away from that kind of foster housing. Price countered that he was trying to ease the pressure on a strained system. On the whole, Price was one of the session’s most effective problem solvers.