On the chopping block: Mental health, universities

Several state agencies, including the Department of Mental Health, along with financial aid for the state’s universities and junior colleges, sustained cuts in the first round of appropriations bills passed out of the Senate Wednesday.

Senate Bill 2976 reduces the Department of Mental Health’s general fund budget by $4.8 million. The 7-percent cut is likely to cause consternation amid ongoing litigation by the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that the state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act by providing inadequate services for the mentally ill.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, said the cuts would mostly come from vacant positions, travel expenses and equipment.

Clarion Ledger
2/15/17