Senate overrides Governor's Veto - Protects Taunton State Hospital 07/13/2012

Senate overrides governor’s veto, protects Taunton State Hospital

BOSTON - State Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, announced that the Senate voted Thursday, July 12, to protect mental health services in the state by overturning two of Governor Patrick’s vetoes.

“This is a major victory for our region and our statewide mental health system,” Pacheco said. “By keeping this language in the State’s FY13 budget, we will ensure that the lights stay on at Taunton State Hospital while a comprehensive study of the entire mental health system is conducted. Patients and their families in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands will now be guaranteed access to these critical mental health services. I applaud the Senate’s leadership for making a commitment to keep the facility open. I would especially like to thank Sen. President Murray for stepping down and voting for this proposal and supporting our most vulnerable residents, as well as Sen. Brewer, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, for personally coming to Taunton State Hospital to see firsthand how important these services really are, and Rep. Haddad for stepping in during negotiations and helping to ensure that these services were protected. Budgets are more than just numbers. They are also about the people and families that rely on these critical services. In this case, we are talking about some of the most vulnerable individuals in our state. I am pleased that we were able to protect these services and help reduce the impact these cuts will have on families across the state.”

On Sunday, Gov. Patrick vetoed two sections of the State’s FY13, one pertaining to keeping 45 inpatient beds at Taunton State Hospital, and another establishing a special commission to study the state’s entire mental health system and make recommendations on how the state can improve access to these services. By overturning the governor’s vetoes, the legislature has ensured that these provisions will remain in the FY13 budget. During Senate debate over the budget in May, Pacheco was the lead sponsor of an amendment requiring at least 72 inpatient beds remain operational at Taunton State Hospital. In contrast, the House of Representatives voted to accept the governor’s proposal and allow for the closure of Taunton State Hospital, a measure that would have left all of Southeastern Massachusetts without any state-operated inpatient mental health beds. Today’s veto overrides will ensure that 45 beds remain at Taunton State Hospital while a comprehensive system wide study is conducted, a significant departure from where things were when the debate began.