House Exempts Mental Health

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The Mississippi House voted Monday not to include the Department of Mental Health in a temporary state hiring freeze.

Rep. Bobby Moody of Louisville said there's a high turnover rate for direct-care workers who feed and clothe mental patients. He convinced the House to let Mental Health hire new workers without getting permission from the Department of Finance and Administration.

The House originally voted Friday to impose a hiring freeze on most state agencies until June 30, the end of the current budget year.

Supporters say the hiring freeze could save the state $8 million to $14 million. The hiring-freeze bill moves to the Senate for more debate.