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Bill to give Governor power over Mental Health dies

The Mississippi Health Agency Reorganization Act of 2017, or SB 2567, has died in the Senate.

The bill would have given Governor Phil Bryant the power to directly appoint the executive director for the Department of Mental Health, who would, in the wording of the bill, work to the “will and pleasure” of the governor.

The act was held on a motion to reconsider Thursday, and on Monday, the motion to table the motion to reconsider failed.

Senator Angela Hill supported the bill, and said it was needed for the mental health patients in the state.

“This is about someone finally being accountable for those individuals who cannot fend for themselves without support,” said Hill. “The federal government is telling us we have to do this community based treatment, but we have to do it right.”

Senator Hob Bryan spoke against the bill, claiming it was retaliation against the Department of Mental Health for going public over budget woes.

“We are asked to make a decision,” said Senator Bryan. “with long-ranging implications without information to make that decision.”

When it initially passed the Senate, it was by a slim margin of only 25-24.

Since Monday was a deadline, no further discussion could happen, and the bill died.

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