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Mental Health Reform Success in the General Assembly: A Mixed Bag

CBS News

One of the state's greatest proponents in the General Assembly for mental health reforms says when it comes to progress made during this legislative session, it's a mixed bag. Senator Creigh Deeds says the MOST important legislation he sponsored actually died in the House of Delegates. 

Bills that give law enforcement more information and resources when responding to calls involving patients in crises passed. So did bills to allow alternative transportation for such patients and to require instant updates of available psychiatric beds. But Deeds says his other bills raised facility and Community Services Board standards-but when CSB officials balked about costs, the bills died in the House. In addition...

“The Governor had a modest proposal to extend benefits to those with several mental illness. And in conference they trimmed it back from  100% of poverty level to 60% of poverty level. And just think about that, between now and May 15th, several hundred people will sign up for benefits between 60% of poverty level to 100% of poverty level, and they’ll get those benefits for one year and then they’ll be cut off,” said Deeds.

Deeds says he questions the commitment to mental health reforms when lawmakers don’t fund them. He says he will push for more reforms next year.

Tommie McNeil is a State Capitol reporter who has been covering Virginia and Virginia politics for more than a decade. He originally hails from Maryland, and also doubles as the evening anchor for 1140 WRVA in Richmond.
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