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California Senate leader pushes national mental health plan

January 21, 2013 |  3:58 pm

Darrel Steinberg is pushing for a national mental health plan.
Come for the party, stay for the lobbying. Or is that vice-versa?

State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) is in Washington, D.C., this week to attend the inaugural festivities. But he’s mixing a little business with pleasure, looking to bend the ear of congressional leaders on mental health issues.

Motivated by the shootings in Newtown, Conn., Steinberg is urging Washington to adopt a national mental health policy. He presented his recommendations to a commission spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden to come up with ideas about how do reduce gun violence.

Steinberg says his $10-billion plan to diagnose and treat mental illness would go a long way toward reducing mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last year. Steinberg led the effort for Proposition 63, which generated about $1 billion a year for mental health programs in California.

The measure was funded with a 1% state surcharge on incomes of more than $1 million.


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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Senate leader Darrell Steinberg. Credit: Randy Pench / The Sacramento Bee