Mental Health Reform

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Gov. Mike Johanns hasn't made up his mind whether to support removing the proposed closure dates of the Hastings and Norfolk mental health regional centers from his reform plan.

Bill sponsor Senator Jim Jensen of Omaha says he will propose removing the closure dates when the bill is heard Wednesday by the Health Committee.

Jensen crafted the mental health reform plan with Johanns. It calls for closing the two centers by the end of 2005 as part of a move toward more community-based care.

Johanns commends Jensen for trying to compromise on the controversial issue.

But Johanns says he likely won't decide whether to support removal of the dates until just before he testifies at the hearing on Wednesday afternoon. He says he wants to talk with people involved with the issue before he decides.