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One of the most frustrating parts of the General Assembly’s ongoing move to renege on the Dix Park deal has been the out-of-the-blue concern that has materialized from conservatives for persons with mental illness. After working for years to underfund and privatize essential services (often, admittedly, in tandem with shortsighted Democrats), all of a sudden, these folks are desperate to sell off Dix for condos to get money to fund services for persons in need.

Conservative State Rep. Jim Fulghum of Raleigh wrote a letter to Raleigh’s News & Observer over the weekend, however, protesting that he was no Johnny-come-lately to the cause of helping people with mental illness and that he both supported the Dix park and somehow restructuring the lease to help persons with mental illness. Let’s hope he’s sincere.

The problem, of course, is that even sincerity of this kind isn’t gonna’ solve the state’s mental health challenge. As veteran lobbyist Paula Wolf noted in a “letter” to Fulghum on her “Paulatics” blog yesterday, Read More

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In case you missed it yesterday, the Charlotte Observer had a good editorial that offered: a) tempered praise for the McCrory administration’s plan to ditch the pink stripes on licenses for immigrants, and b) a big thumbs down on a legislative proposal to make it easier for people with mental health issues to obtain handguns.

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

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An editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it right in calling on Governor-elect McCrory and state legislative leaders to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to the state’s failing mental health system.

“Pat McCrory, the incoming governor and a Republican, sounds the right note when he says, ‘Frankly, we have a broken mental health system in our nation and in our state. We’ve got to do some serious work to close those deficiencies.’ He’s right. Now the challenge for McCrory is to push his GOP majorities in the state House and Senate, where the inclination is to cut budgets in all directions, to invest in better mental health care, with something of a focus on that young adult group….

The new governor and the General Assembly need to face the funding shortage that lawmakers helped create and recognize that a state without adequate care for the mentally ill hurts patients and the state itself. Read More

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Craig Jarvis at Under the Dome has an encouraging story on today’s meeting of a special “blue ribbon” commission. The commission is dealing with the issue (highlighted here at NC Policy Watch on multiple occasions) in which the state has been unlawfully warehousing people with mental illness in adult care homes. 

“The 32-member Blue Ribbon Commission on Transitions to Community Living met for the first time and spent the day at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh getting up to speed on several pressing issues.

The state is working toward that goal in an agreement with the federal Department of Justice in order to avoid being sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A federal investigation alleged that the state wrongly confined thousands of people in adult care homes and institutions. Read More