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ABC

October 23, 2010

Advocates sue state over mental health cutoff

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and several Los Angeles County agencies because of state budget cuts.

The plaintiffs say cutting a $133 state million mental health program is discriminatory against the more than 20,000 special education students across California.

The 25-year-old program was run through county mental health departments and offered services required by federal law.

A spokesman for the governor said it's ultimately up to school districts to provide those services and that there was nothing illegal about the governor cutting the program with a line item veto.

Public Counsel, Disability Rights California, Mental Health Advocacy Services and law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are some of the organizations taking part in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the state departments of Education and Mental Health, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Office on Education.

About 8,000 children are affected in Los Angeles County.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.