Snyder expands scope of mental health panels

LANSING, Mich. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has expanded the scope of mental health panels he created last year.

The governor signed an executive order Thursday giving more responsibilities to the Mental Health and Wellness Commission and the Mental Health Diversion Council. The panels are chaired by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

The commission will recommend ways to overcome transportation problems for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The council will look at diverting juveniles with mental health problems from going to jail.

One of the panels this year recommended that Michigan better unify health services for the mentally disabled and give priority to military veterans who need help. Lawmakers are moving quickly on one recommendation - eradicating the phrase "mental retardation" from state law.

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