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Child services consolidation (vetoed)

Published (5/30/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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The human services commissioner will not have to consult the Legislature before relocating an enterprise activity within state operated services.

Sponsored by Rep. John Ward (DFL-Brainerd) and Sen. Paul Koering (R-Fort Ripley), a bill vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty was in response to the Department of Human Services’ proposed consolidation of the Brainerd and Willmar child service facilities.

Staff from the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services Program at Brainerd said its facility is consistently at bed capacity with needy and severely mentally ill children. But department statistics show Brainerd’s inpatient services steadily declining since 2004. Therefore, the department recommends consolidating services to save the state $1.2 million annually.

Current law only prohibits the commissioner from closing a center, nursing home or certain programs at a facility without legislative approval.

In his veto message, the governor said, “By prohibiting the closure of enterprise activities, this bill will unnecessarily force the Department to carry the costs of those activities that cannot be supported by revenues.”


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