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Kansas Panels Approve Extra $17M For State Mental Hospitals

Phil Cauthon for KHI News Service

Two separate Kansas legislative committees have approved proposals from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to provide an additional $17 million to the state's two mental hospitals.

The decisions Thursday by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee mean both chambers will consider the spending as part of broader budget legislation next week.

The extra funds will provide pay raises and offset lost federal funds over the next 15 months.

Most of the funds would be spent at Osawatomie State Hospital, about 45 miles southwest of the Kansas City area. The federal government decertified the hospital in December over the reported rape of an employee and other safety issues.

But legislators also have been concerned about staffing shortages at Larned State Hospital in western Kansas.

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