Henry County wants change in mental health evaluation law

Murray, KY – The Henry County Commission voted this week to appeal a Tennessee law requiring counties to pay for court-ordered mental evaluations for those facing misdemeanor charges. The state was previously responsible for both felony and misdemeanor mental evaluations before passing the law in June 2009 for cost-reduction reasons. Henry County Mayor Brent Greer says the law is an unfunded mandate' and nearly cost the county thousands.

"We were billed for an individual that had previously been convicted of a felony here in Henry County. He came back for a parole violation and was sitting on a misdemeanor charge. Because of that, they said it was a misdemeanor case and so they did charge us for it. I believe the bill was close to $30,000"

Henry County appealed the charges which were waived by the Department of Mental Health. The incident raised awareness around the state leading other counties to make similar appeals. The Commission has sent official copies of the appeal to the governor in addition to the county's state representatives and the Department of Mental Health. Greer hopes lawmakers will address the issue this legislative session Greer hopes the issue will be resolved in the current legislative session.