UPDATE: Gov. putting $28.9 million in budget for mental health - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Gov. Walker putting $28.9 million in budget for mental health

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With mass shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek and the Azana Spa and Salon in Brookfield last year, Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) got up close and personal to violence caused by mentally ill individuals.

"Extreme, untreated, unchecked mental illness at least played a role in each of those situations and to me, I thought we had to be more aggressive in that," said Gov. Walker.

That's why the Governor wants to add $28.9 million in additional funds for mental health services.  He announced the proposal at a meeting of the Wisconsin Counties Association Wednesday morning.

$12.5 million would go to set up two more forensic team units at the Mendota Mental Health Institute, to serve the backlog of inmates awaiting court-ordered mental health treatment.

"The number of people waiting in jails, which you're probably familiar with at least your sheriff's and deputies are, continues to grow," Gov. Walker told WCA members.

Another $10.2 million would be spent on Comprehensive Community Services.

"To expand intensive, targeted community based care for adults and children with severe mental illness," said the Governor.

Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood) is a mental health nurse who says the funds are very needed.

"Because some of those programs will cost a few more dollars.  Community support needs some initial funding and we need to start directing much more money to people in the community instead of in hospitals," said Rep. Pasch.

Governor Walker hopes the legislature will approve the proposals, to help get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health treatment.

"The more access families have to these sorts of services, the less pressure it puts on the school system and in the worst case scenario on the criminal justice and law enforcement system," said Gov. Walker.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) says he has to review the Governor's ideas before making any decision on them.    

Meanwhile, Rep. Vos and Rep. Pasch announced the formation of a Mental Health Task Force in the Assembly.

The 11 member legislative committee will meet for the first time on February 27th.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) announced Wednesday morning that he is putting an additional $28.9 million towards mental health services in his biennial budget proposal.

The bulk of the money, $12.5 million, will go towards forensic treatment units at Mendota Mental Health Institute, which provides mental health services to inmates.  Gov. Walker says there is a growing waiting list for those services.

$10.2 million will go towards Comprehensive Community Services, which provides community-based care for adults and children with severe mental illness. 

Another $3.7 million will go to expand the state's Coordinated Services Team program, which provides community-based care for children with behavioral health issues and their families.

Wednesday afternoon, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is expected to announce a legislative mental health task force as well.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have live reports on this story on 27 News at 5 and 6.

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