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Wisconsin Assembly Creates Committees to Reform Mental Health Care and Public Benefits

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the two new standing committees reflect Republican priorities for the legislative session that begins January 5.

Vos says the new Public Benefit Reform Committee will consider a large number of entitlement reforms the GOP majority wants to push forward.

"We need to weed out fraud, waste and abuse to ensure that people who really need temporary assistance are getting it," Vos said via a statement.

He says the new Assembly Mental Health Reform Committee he's creating will continue "the bipartisan work of the Speaker's Task Force on Mental Health."

The task force started its work last session, examining ways to improve mental health care services across Wisconsin. Among the group's recommendations: creating a grant program to encourage physicians and psychiatrists to locate in medically underserved community, increasing ways mental health care professionals and primary care doctors can collaborate on patient care and allowing counties to create alternative programs for offenders with mental health diagnoses.

Vos will appoint members and leaders of the new committees in coming weeks, so they can begin their work when the 2015-2016 legislative session starts in January.