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Lawmakers approve of the state's decision to invest ARPA funding to mental health

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders named a new chair of the state Post-Prison Transfer Board (also known as the parole board) late Wednesday.
John Sykes
Arkansas Advocate
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the state would be investing $30 million into mental health and substance abuse prevention.

In an interview with KARK Channel 4’s Capitol View, State Rep. DeAnn Vaught, R-Horatio, and State Sen. Reginald Murdock, D- Marianna, both said they approved the state’s recent announcement to invest $30 million in mental health and substance abuse programs.

Murdock said this is an issue the state has been trying to address for the past four to five years and this investment was needed.

“There’s so many aspects of mental health that the country is becoming more aware of. So as we become more aware then I am glad to see the governor and the leadership come together to make sure that we start to fund this,” he said.

Vaught and Murdock said investing in mental health is also a way to improve the overcrowding that the state is seeing in its prisons.

Gov. Sarah Sanders, a Republican, said the $30 million would come from federal funds the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed by President Joe Biden in 2021.

Ronak Patel is a reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.