House votes to fund mental health settlement

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s House has voted to provide expanded services to the mentally ill as a requirement of a settlement of a lawsuit against the state.

The House voted 173-125 Thursday to spend $11.2 million in federal and state funds over the current two-year budget to expand treatment options for the mentally ill and pay legal costs.

House Finance Chairwoman Mary Jane Wallner, a Concord Democrat, said failing to fund the settlement would reopen the litigation and cost the state much more.

Rep. Neal Kurk, a Weare Republican, said the bill’s opponents support the settlement, but feel the Department of Health and Human Services should absorb $11.2 million in its budget.

The lawsuit charged the state with needlessly confining people in mental wards and hospitals because it lacked community treatment options.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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