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Franken mental health bill stalled on Senate floor


The Star Tribune reports that two senators are blocking U.S. Sen Al Franken's $40 million bill to expand mental health care. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill last June with bipartisan support, and it had been heading for a floor vote.

The legislation would extend funding for mental health courts, and for training police who respond to calls involving people with mental illness. It would also improve mental health screening for veterans stemming from trauma and chemical dependency.

The Star Tribune cites an anonymous source who said the lawmakers blocking the legislation are Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Mike Lee, R-Utah.

A government website that tracks legislative progress gives the bill 74 percent chance of eventual success.

AM 1280 "The Patriot" said Coburn and Lee are blocking the bill because they think the states, not the federal government, should control funding for mental health.

The Star Tribune says Sen. Franken is optimistic the block is temporary and the bill will eventually pass.

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