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News & Press: Legislative Updates

Assembly plans to take up mental health vetoes

Wednesday, November 6, 2019  
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November 6, Wisconsin Health News

Republicans in the Assembly are hoping to vote Thursday on overriding Gov. Tony Evers' vetoes of mental health initiatives in the state budget.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, announced the plans Tuesday.Republicans need two-thirds of the chamber to approve the overrides. They control the chamber 63-36. 

Republicans are seeking to override a veto that would have provided up to $15 million for a northern Wisconsin mental health crisis center, providing more mental health beds at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls.

Evers objected to the measure since it didn't follow the normal enumeration process and directed the money to go to an expansion of Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Madison.

They also want to override a veto of $10 million in state money that would have gone to increasing Medicaid rates for physicians and behavioral health providers.

Evers objected to requirements that the Department of Health Services request the release of funding from the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee. He directed the agency to move forward with an increase from existing resources.

GOP lawmakers also want to override a veto of $1 million for qualified treatment trainee programs for those training to become social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists or psychologists.

Evers struck the provision due to "overly prescriptive requirements" and directed DHS to develop grant criteria and seek applicants.