House votes to fund mental health settlement

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.

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