Legislative Leaders Ask Court To Overturn Cuts to Mental Health Care
On Monday, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez (D-Los Angeles) asked the Office of Legislative Counsel to send an amicus letter to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in an effort to overturn Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) veto of student mental health funding, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Sanders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 11/29).
When the governor signed the state budget package last month, he used line-item vetoes to cut $133 million intended to pay counties for providing mental health services to about 20,000 special education students. Schwarzenegger also suspended a state mandate requiring counties to provide student mental health services.
Federal law requires mental health services to be available for students who need them. Therefore, the governor's cuts could shift responsibility for such services from counties to local school districts.
The governor's veto of student mental health funding spurred mental health and disability rights advocates to file a class-action lawsuit (California Healthline, 11/10). In addition, the California School Boards Association, the Los Angeles Unified School District and other groups filed a lawsuit against the cuts earlier this month.
Last month, Schwarzenegger's office said the veto was necessary to shore up reserve funds.
Steinberg and PÃ©rezÂ requested the letter in connection with the lawsuit filed by the education groups. The lawmakers argued that the governor overstepped his authority by vetoing funding for the student mental health services. PÃ©rez in a written statement also said the cuts were unconstitutional.
Steinberg and PÃ©rez said they would like the appeals court to adjudicate the issue directly rather than send the case first to a trial court ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 11/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.