Advocates Push For Replacement Of Eastern State

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Mental health advocates are pushing for a new $130 million hospital to treat the seriously mental ill in Kentucky.

Joseph Toy, president and CEO of Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board, says Kentucky lawmakers should act on a plan to replace Eastern State Hospital. "The time to act is now," Toy said at a rally.

Eastern State Hospital, which currently treats mentally ill patients, is more than 180 years old.

State government currently has a $434 million budget shortfall in the fiscal year that ends June 30. Kentucky's projected budget shortfall over the next two fiscal years is more than $800 million.

Gov. Steve Beshear has already slashed 3-percent from the current state budget, and has said the next two-year budget will likely be austere. Beshear outlines his budget proposal Tuesday night at a joint session of the General Assembly.

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