Sponsors of a bill to create a state suicide prevention plan say it could be in jeporady, because the Department of Health failed to communicate with them during the legislative process. Problems with the bill didn’t surface until the Legislature passed it and sent it to the Governor. Only then, did co-sponsor Todd Smith of Sedalia learn that the Department of Health has advised Governor Holden to veto the legislation. The Department claims an addition made in the Senate raises the cost of the bill to $70,000 – too much in these tight fiscal times. Smith says Health Department officials never informed him of the problem. The issue is personal for Smith. His brother committed suicide early last year. Co-sponsor Connie Johnson of St. Louis became involved when statistics disclosed a sharp rise in suicides among black males. She says the prospect of the legislation falling apart after hard work across party-lines, geographic lines and race lines is hard to take. Johnson also says the Department of Health never informed her of their problems with the bill.
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