Governor Mary Fallin Signs Measure Sending $23 Million to Mental Health Department

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today signed House Bill 1081X, which appropriates $23.3 million to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The measure, which passed overwhelmingly in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, takes the money from the state’s Constitutional Reserve Fund, commonly called the Rainy Day Fund.

The Mental Health Department lost $75 million for this fiscal year when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled a proposed cigarette smoking cessation fee was unconstitutional. The fee was estimated to bring in $215 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

“This measure will help avoid devastating mental health and substance abuse services cuts,” said Fallin. “This is a first step in closing the budget hole. I encourage lawmakers to continue working to come up with a funding solution.”

In addition to providing money for the Mental Health Department, the proposed smoking cessation fee would have generated about $70 million to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and about $69 million to the Department of Human Services.