Mental Health Reform

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State lawmakers are debating a proposal to close the Hastings and Norfolk mental health regional centers.

The plan is backed by Gov. Mike Johanns as part of a mental health reform initiative to move toward more community-based care.

The cities of Norfolk and Hastings are unified against the proposal.

Numerous amendments have been filed by opponents looking to postpone the closures until at least 2007 and require the Legislature to sign off on it.

Johanns has said mental health reform is his top initiative. He has been meeting with state senators in private the past couple weeks to discuss details of the plan.