Bill that could help students with mental health concerns receives veto from Governor

Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks at the conclusion of the 2018 session of the Nebraska legislature (NTV News)

Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed a bill that aimed to help address student mental health problems on Monday.

LB 998 would establish the collaboration of school behavioral and mental health program.

The bill would require each educational service unit to hire a social worker.

The social worker would help use screening and assessment tools to help identify students in need of services.

Senator Lynne Walz said she's already found private donors to fund the program.

"While the goal of the bill is noble, the bill in its final form misses the mark," Gov. Ricketts said.

Ricketts says donations can still go to ESU's without this bill and he says it's unclear how parents would be involved.

“I am appalled the Governor would veto a bill that helps so many children and families. There were so many people who worked with us on this legislation. We worked with behavioral and mental health experts, school administrators, teachers, social workers, and concerned parents on LB998. Our office received over a hundred letters of support. This is a program that was needed and well supported,” said Sen. Walz.

Walz added, “I am in shock that a program intended to help children, with no cost to the state, would draw this level of opposition. Now, thousands of children will not have access to services they need because our governor is out of touch with the people he is supposed to represent.”

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