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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Discusses Mental Health Law

November 07, 2011

Families of the intellectually disabled need more committed advocates, Pennsylvania Rep. Thomas Murt said during a visit to the law school on Nov. 7.

Elderly parents of disabled adults face significant challenges providing care, since they and their children may both be medically fragile, said Murt, R-Montgomery County.

Yet the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed cutting funds to organizations that serve intellectually disabled people, Murt said.

“You can’t back out of a moral or legal obligation to balance the budget on the backs of disabled people,” Murt said, pledging to fight the proposed funding cut.

Legislation Murt introduced for a natural gas tax could generate significant funds for special-needs adults as well as drug and alcohol counseling programs.

“This is an industry that has not paid its fair share,” said Murt, who founded and chairs the Intellectual Disabilities Caucus.

Families with special-needs children and relatives have a tremendous need for legal representation, since they seldom have the wherewithal to fight for the resources their loved ones need, Murt said.

The event was sponsored by the law school’s newly formed Mental Health Law Society,
the American Constitution Society and the Criminal Law Society.