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Crisis Connection just one of many casualties of lawmaker disagreements



While it has gained most of the attention recently, Minnesota’s state suicide hotline is just one of many casualties of Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto pen.

When Dayton vetoed two key bills May 23, he undid most of the work of the legislature over the previous three months, including funding for programs like Crisis Connection, which is privately operated by Canvas Health.

But there was other funding that disappeared, including money for opioid addiction treatment, election cybersecurity, disability services …

“Before the governor decided to, you know, if the governor vetoed these bills he’s going to inflict a lot of pain on Minnesotans and that’s exactly what he did, that’s what happened,” Republican state rep. Greg Davis, of Preston, said.

The $1 million proposal to fund the call center took up seven lines in a 990-page legislative document. Dayton vetoed some key measures largely over ongoing priority disagreements in state funding with the GOP-controlled legislature.

“Just can’t make this stuff up,” Davids said. “It’s really a tragedy what the governor did.”

Canvas Health recently announced it would end the Crisis Connection hotline, which will end after a 50-year run because of a lack of state funding. That will leave Minnesota as one of two states without a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline crisis center.

Calls to the Lifeline were routed to the program. They will now go to out-of-state counselors, who might not respond as quickly.

The 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

There’s also a 24-hour county crisis hotlines and services in the Twin Cities by dialing **CRISIS or by texting 741741.

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