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English News

November 3, 2010

Mental health program temporarily restored in California

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. federal judge ruled on Tuesday that a mental health program previously vetoed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger should be restored temporarily.

On Oct. 21, disability-rights advocates such as Public Counsel and Disability Rights California filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court, suing Schwarzenegger and various governmental agencies, alleging the state violated the Individuals with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by eliminating the program.

In the Tuesday ruling, U.S. District Judge George H. Wu approved a stipulated injunction to temporarily restore the long- running program for students in Los Angeles County and elsewhere .

About 20,000 special education pupils received mental health services under a bill, AB 3632, until the line-item veto last month struck the program's entire 133-million-dollar budget.

Last week, the coalition filed a request for a temporary restraining order and motion for preliminary injunction, asking a judge to order the state Department of Education to continue providing AB 3632 services without interruption.

Before the motion could be heard, an agreement was reached whereby the Department of Education would release 76 million dollars of federal funds for the short-term continuation of the services, according to Laura Faer, directing attorney for Public Counsel.

Faer called Wu's decision "a temporary solution to a much more serious long-term crisis," promising to ensure that AB 3632 services are not disrupted after the initial funding is exhausted.

Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Rachel Arrezola said the governor is pleased that alternative funding has been provided.

"These cuts were not something the governor wanted to make," she said. "They were necessary."