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Mental health services, transparency requirements among new laws effective Wednesday

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HELENA, Montana — Montana's $10 billion budget for the next two years includes millions of dollars in new and expanded mental health care.

Nearly $20 million in additional mental health funding will become available when the new fiscal year begins Wednesday. That money will be used to expand mental health crisis intervention services and remodel the state hospital in Warm Springs.

Montana also will begin urging public school employees to complete two hours of suicide awareness training every five years.

The 93 laws taking effect Wednesday include a transparency law that requires some state boards to make audio or video recordings of their meetings available to the public. Another will publicize general locations of pipelines and shut-off valves near rivers.

The new two-year budget increases spending by about 6 percent over the last biennium.

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