NC Representatives All Vote For Congressional Mental Health Overhaul

Jul 7, 2016
Originally published on July 7, 2016 11:53 pm

All 13 of North Carolina's representatives in the U.S. House voted in favor of an overhaul of the country's mental health system Wednesday. The bill gained momentum this year in part because of mass shootings.

Improving the country's mental health system is something President Obama, Republicans and Democrats have agreed on. A bipartisan bill just passed the U.S. House with unanimous support from North Carolina's representatives.

Republican Robert Pittenger from south Charlotte says the bill addresses the core problem in mass shootings.

"We have many people that have suffered from mental illness, and we have too long neglected that need," he says.

The bill is commonly called the Murphy bill, after Representative Tim Murphy, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

It would reorganize federal mental health services under one office. It would expand mental illness treatment and training. And it instructs the health secretary to review regulations on how records are shared with family and caregivers. 

Congressman Richard Hudson, a Republican from Concord, worked on it in committee.

"This is probably the most comprehensive mental health legislation that Congress has ever attempted," he says. "But a big driving point with that was those tragedies. This may not be the only solution and the only thing we need to look at, but I think it is a big part of it."

The bill does not address access to guns. North Carolina's Democratic representatives say Congress still needs to pass legislation on that front.

Most Republicans disagree. Neither Hudson nor Pittenger have seen gun control legislation they would support.

The Murphy bill now goes to the Senate. North Carolina's Senators did not respond to interview requests.

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