Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BREAKING: Energy & Commerce Unanimously Passes H.R. 2646 !!!!


BREAKING: Energy & Commerce Unanimously Passes H.R. 2646
Murphy's Landmark Legislation Moves to the House Floor
For Immediate Release: June 15, 2016
Contact: 
Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, DC) - By a unanimous vote of 53-0 Congressman Tim Murphy's (R-PA) landmark crisis mental health legislation the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, the House Energy & Commerce Committee reported the  bill out favorable to the House. Considered the most comprehensive reform of mental health in the past half century, the bill currently boasts 197 bipartisan cosponsors and has garnered endorsements across the country from newspaper editors, physicians and families of individuals with mental illness. 
“Here and now this Committee jointly proclaims that the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness must come out of the shadows. We declare a new dawn of hope for the care of those with mental illness and we pledge our unwavering commitment to continued work to bring help and hope in the future,” stated Chairman Murphy. 
Watch Murphy deliver his powerful and emotional statement here.
“Today’s vote on passage of H.R. 2646 and reporting the bill out of Committee is a historic moment for families in mental health crisis and for the millions of Americans trapped in our nation’s broken mental health system,” said Murphy. “Delivering evidence-based treatment is how we will finally conquer stigma surrounding mental illness, and this bipartisan bill transforms the federal government’s approach to mental health. This bill calls for a complete overhaul of the current federal system, refocusing resources on helping those with the most serious mental illnesses by getting them treatment before, during and after a psychiatric crisis. I couldn’t be prouder of the work of the bipartisan coalition in Congress, and I eagerly look forward to the bill’s consideration on the House Floor.”
Watch Video of Congressman Murphy delivering his remarks Here
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TODAY - The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act Takes a Major Step Forward

WASHINGTON, DC - For families exhausted from battling a broken mental health system, finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), has scheduled a full committee markup this morning to consider HR 2646, the landmark mental health reform legislation introduced last year by Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). 

The Treatment Advocacy Center has been closely monitoring the negotiation process and we are pleased that despite the many competing interests, the bill hasn't lost its focus on severe mental illness. 

Among the most important reforms we expect to see:
Funding AOT: Authorizes an additional two years of funding for the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) federal grant program to catalyze communities to implement this lifesaving, evidence-based treatment program;
 
VOICE YOUR SUPPORT. Tell members of the Energy and Commerce Committee that we MUST keep the focus on people with severe mental illness.
All donations are fully tax-deductible.  The Treatment Advocacy Center does not solicit nor accept support from pharmaceutical companies. 
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tennessee needs AOT now more than ever!

Ironically as we received the news yesterday that the state was not funding Knoxville's Safety Center, SAMHSA announced that the first-ever federal assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) funding is operational and taking grant applications -$15 MILLION AVAILABLE in federal funds to states with AOT laws! 

BUT ... Tennessee is not eligible since we remain as one of only 4 states in our nation without AOT laws on our books. 

It is unfortunate that Knoxville could not make its 3 year AOT pilot program work. The proposed Safety Center would be an ideal location to file petitions to stop the revolving door stemming from untreated serious mental illness. 

We can still get some of this funding - if TN ever passes AOT. 

Spread the word. 

Tennessee needs AOT more than ever. 

Read the news release here: NO STATE MONEY FOR SAFETY CENTER


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A WAKE UP CALL FOR CONGRESS ON MENTAL HEALTH REFORM

In today’s Wall Street Journal:Lawmakers need to act

For Immediate Release: 3.30.16
Contact:
 Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington DC) – In today’s Wall Street Journal, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute presses Congress to stop stalling and take up Congressman Tim Murphy's (R-PA) landmark mental health legislation, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646). Calling it "the only proposal that would be likely to affect the actual treatment" of the severely mentally ill, Dr. Torrey puts forth: “One might think that members of Congress would be interested in passing legislation that could decrease threats to themselves. But that assumes they are thinking logically.”   
A Wake-Up Call for Congress on Mental-Health Reform The incident at the Capitol involving a clearly troubled man is the latest reminder:  
Lawmakers need to act
 
E. Fuller Torrey
March 29, 2016
Another shooting at the U.S. Capitol. This time, in an incident on Monday, 66-year-old Larry Dawson, a Tennessee man known to U.S. Capitol Police for his erratic behavior, was shot and wounded by a police officer when he pulled out what sources later said was a pistol-like pellet gun.
What is going on? One possible answer was offered earlier this month by 30-year-old Kyle Odom, who was arrested March 8 after throwing a letter to President Obama over the White House fence. The letter warned the president that there are at least 50 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, who are Martians. Then, in a 21-page manifesto released to the media, Mr. Odom provided the names of these congressional Martians and described how they live “deep underground here and inside the moon.” Law-enforcement officials say that two days before the White House incident, Mr. Odom shot and critically wounded an Idaho minister, believing that the clergyman also was a Martian.
Kyle Odom had not always believed in extraterrestrials. He served four years as a decorated Marine, graduated from the University of Idaho with honors, and was accepted into a prestigious Ph.D. program in genetics. Then he developed delusions and auditory hallucinations, classic symptoms of schizophrenia. Like many with this disease, though, he apparently has had no awareness of his own illness.
Mr. Odom joins a long line of individuals with untreated mental illness who have come to the attention of Congress. In 1998 Russell Weston, with untreated schizophrenia, shot his way into the Capitol building, killing two guards before finally being stopped as he entered the office of then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. In response, Congress vowed to do something about untreated mental illness but did nothing. 
In 2011 Jared Loughnerwith untreated schizophrenia, severely wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., and killed six others. In response, Congress vowed to do something but did nothing. Then in 2013 Miriam Carey, seriously mentally ill, was killed by U.S. Capitol Police on the Capitol grounds, causing a lockdown of the building. During these same years there have been at least 20 widely publicized mass shootings by individuals with serious mental illness that was not being treated.
Mr. Odom’s arrival in Washington with his list of Martian members of Congress has come at a time when there are multiple legislative proposals, in both the House and Senate, to improve the nation’s broken mental-illness treatment system. The strongest bill is from Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.), the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), which has 135 Republican and 51 Democratic co-sponsors. It is the only proposal that would be likely to affect the actual treatment of Kyle Odom, Miriam Carey, Jared Loughner, Russell Weston and other individuals with untreated serious mental illness who, because of the effect of the disease on their brain, are unaware of their own illness and need for treatment.
Kyle Odom said it best at the beginning of his manifesto: “As you can see, I’m pretty smart. I’m also 100 percent sane, 0 percent crazy.” The provision in Rep. Murphy’s bill, which would make treatment possible, is called assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) and requires the individual to follow a court-ordered treatment plan. In study after study, AOT has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalization, incarcerations and violent acts among individuals with serious mental illness. 
A study by New York state found that, after the first six months of court-ordered treatment, “individuals in AOT showed a significant decline [44%] in the incidence of harmful behaviors,” such as threatening suicide or violence to others.
One might think that members of Congress would be interested in passing legislation that could decrease threats to themselves. But that assumes they are thinking logically. As columnist Kimberley Strassel has reported for this newspaper, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and her cohorts have been holding up Rep. Murphy’s proposed legislation, preferring a victory against gun lobbyists over helping those with severe mental illnesses. Other impediments have been thrown up by Reps. Fred Upton (R., Mich.) and Frank Pallone (D., N.J.), the chairman and ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. 
There may not be any Martians in Congress, despite Kyle Odom’s claims, but if lawmakers continue to thwart this common-sense reform of mental-health policy, voters could begin to suspect that Mrs. Pelosi and her colleagues live on another planet.
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Thursday, March 10, 2016

IMPORTANT!

Senate HELP proposal ignores the most severely ill, perpetuates broken system
Meanwhile, Idaho Shooting Suspect and White House Intruder Has History of Mental Illness

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) on Tuesday made public a draft mental health bill that eliminates every substantive provision to help people with severe mental illness.

At nearly the same time, Kyle Odom, a 30-year-old veteran with a reported history of mental illness was arrested after throwing objects over the White House fence. Odom is suspected in the shooting of a pastor in Idaho two days earlier, according to media accounts.

"Odom -- a man tortured by a history of suicide attempts, paranoia, voices and hallucinations --- identified 50 members of Congress as dangerous Martians and was arrested for attempting to fulfill part of his manifesto on the White House lawn," said John Snook, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. "What more needs to happen for our policymakers to take our failing mental health system seriously and change the status quo?"
"Families watching their loved ones deteriorate into a psychiatric crisis need Congress to embrace proven solutions and real reform," the executive continued. "Instead, the Senate HELP Committee proposal ignores the momentum that has been built around fixing the broken system, and disregards every major change to help the most severely ill outlined by Representatives Tim Murphy and Eddie Bernice Johnson in their Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act - a bill with the bipartisan support of 185 Representatives."
The Treatment Advocacy Center urges lawmakers in the Senate to include in the bill the five following provisions to help reduce the tremendous social costs associated with our broken mental health system.
Real reform must include:
1. Reform of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA);

2. Reform of the discriminatory IMD exclusion to ensure more psychiatric inpatient beds;

3. Reform of HIPAA provisions that unnecessarily prevent communication with caregivers;

4. Support for assisted outpatient treatment, a proven solution to help those most in need; 

5. Real oversight of Protection and Advocacy programs.

Call HELP committee leadership today:
  1. Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) -- (202) 224-4944
  2. Ranking member Sen Patty Murray (D-WA) -- (202) 224-2621
Is your Senator on HELP?  Check here.
Call your Senator TODAY and tell them to make severe mental illness a priority.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

MENTAL ILLNESS IN THE NEWS

News and Commentary from the Treatment Advocacy Center
February 1 - February 5, 2016
"Grandmother Turns Grief over Death of Grandson into Good" 

The grandmother of 3-year-old Ji'Aire Lee - who was found dead on a playground swing after his mentally ill mother had pushed his lifeless body for nearly two days - visited the Maryland House of Delegates early this week to talk to state lawmakers about mental health reform legislation named after her deceased grandson. The bill is meant to identify cracks in the mental health system that allowed Ji'Aire to die and changes necessary to help people with serious mental illness. READ IT ALL...
"Lives Hang in Balance While Committee Democrats Delay Comprehensive Mental Health Reform"
A group of House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats this week introduced the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act - their own watered-down version of the bipartisan comprehensive mental health reform already moving through the House. "Playing partisan political games with mental health reform is an insult to people with severe mental illness trapped in our broken mental health system," said John Snook, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. "How long do the families of those with a severe mental illness need to wait before Congress finally takes mental health reform seriously?" READ IT ALL...
In the second half of 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new antipsychotic medications for oral use in the United States - brexpiprazola (trade name: Rexulti) and cariprazine (trade name: Vraylar).  But these new antipsychotics add little to augment the choice of antipsychotics already available. READ IT ALL...

No mentally ill inmate will be placed in solitary confinement for more than thirty days, according to a settlement between the American Civil Liberties Union, Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services and Department of Corrections. As awareness and outrage about the criminalization of mental illness across the country continues to grow across, we expect to see a wave of states settle similar lawsuits in the future. READ IT ALL...
If you have a letter or commentary published, please email a link or a copy to press@treatmentadvocacycenter.org so we can save it, acknowledge your reform efforts and share it with others.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/152b6fe85bbfbccd

Thursday, December 3, 2015

WSJ Urges Congress To Advance Murphy's HR 2646

Editorial Board publishes 

"The Next Mad Gunman"

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2015
Contact: Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, D.C.) – The Wall Street Journal editorial board today published a piecehighlighting Congressman Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646, crisis mental health legislation that requires SAMHSA to focus on evidence-based care and fixes HIPAA to allow medical professionals and family members to share critical information regarding their loved ones’ mental health treatment. 
The Next Mad GunmanEditorial Board
Wall Street Journal
November 29, 2015, 6:15pm

If the reaction to Friday’s mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs follows the Washington script, it will go something like this: Amid the public mourning will come the fights over gun control, and then nothing. Congress can change that cycle of intellectual poverty by shaking up federal mental-health policy.
A law enforcement official says the suspect, 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, made a remark about “no more baby parts” after his arrest, which suggests an anti-abortion motivation for the shooting. But even the initial reporting on Mr. Dear’s life shows that he is a longtime malcontent who believed the government was out to get him. We may find he suffered from paranoid delusions—that is, mental illness.
As it happens, this month a House subcommittee passed one of the more consequential bills of this Republican majority—the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Recent mass killers have nearly all had some kind of mental illness, yet few received proper treatment. One reason is a national mental-health system that has been ruined by 50 years of bad policy and oversight, and that fails to identify and help the severely ill. Representative Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) spent more than a year investigating the dysfunction and writing an overhaul.
Mr. Murphy’s problem now is politics. Democrats once seemed interested in a bipartisan bill, but of late the left has decided that mental illness is a diversion from its gun-control agenda. President Obama set the tone after the recent shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, claiming that the “majority” of these shooters are “angry, young men” with access to an “arsenal.” Plaintiffs lawyers and the anti-psychiatry movement have mobilized against Mr. Murphy’s reform.
The opposition comes despite Mr. Murphy’s efforts at compromise. His original bill denied federal funds to the slightly less than half of the states that lack “need for treatment” standards in their involuntary commitment laws, which give family and doctors more ability to assist the seriously ill. It would also have denied money to five states that don’t have assisted-outpatient treatment laws, which let courts require the mentally ill to receive treatment as a condition of remaining in a community.
Mr. Murphy has since modified the bill to give states an incentive to make these changes by offering more grant money to those that do. But a liberal phalanx led by New Jersey’s Frank Pallone is resisting any effort to require treatment for the dangerously ill, preferring to let those in the middle of psychotic episodes decide their own (non)care.
Democrats also misrepresent the bill to claim it eviscerates privacy protections. The reform does change federal rules to allow medical professionals and family members to share more information, though very narrowly. The changes would only apply to people diagnosed with a handful of severe illnesses—like schizophrenia. Even then it limits the sharing to basic “medical” information—the diagnosis, medications, a treatment plan. Psychiatrists are still barred from sharing “therapy notes” in which patients talk about how they feel. Democrats here are aiding the trial-lawyer lobby, which loves filing privacy lawsuits.
Liberals also object that Mr. Murphy would overhaul and impose spending oversight on the wayward Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Samhsa blows $3.6 billion a year on “prevention” programs for the “worried well,” with such investments as anti-bullying coloring books and “anxiety” programs. It scorns medically driven care and is in thrall to an anti-psychiatry movement that opposes drug treatment in favor of patient “empowerment.”
Mr. Murphy’s bill requires Samhsa to focus on evidence-driven care, and Democrats are using this to claim that the bill will cut vital money for prevention and substance-abuse programs. The Murphy bill does attempt to steer more dollars toward the severely ill, but it still makes room for other priorities—so long as advocates can demonstrate effectiveness. Samhsa’s agenda is to keep the cash flowing without accountability.
Mr. Murphy’s bill has 162 co-sponsors, including 45 Democrats. California’s Anna Eshoo, Illinois’s Bobby Rush and Pennsylvania’s Mike Doyle support gun control but aren’t using that as an excuse to ignore the urgent need for mental-health reform. Oregon’s Kurt Schrader is the only Democrat on the subcommittee to put his constituents ahead of partisanship and vote for the Murphy reform.
These Democrats are way ahead of some Republicans, who object to involuntary commitment for the mentally ill, despite overwhelming evidence of the risks to society and the sick. GOP leaders have also failed to make this a priority. Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton has been reluctant to move the bill past Mr. Pallone, the ranking Democrat on his committee.
A disturbed loner like Mr. Dear might be untreatable by any medical system, but some future young man might be stoppable with proper mental treatment. Congress should do what it can to make this more likely.

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Murphy Press | Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18)
2332 Rayburn House Office Building | Washington, DC  20515
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Tampa Tribune: HR 2646 ‘Good For The Country’

Ed Board Urges: “Confront Our Mental Health Crisis” Following Shooting in Colorado Springs  

For Immediate Release: December 1, 2015
Contact: Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, D.C.) –The Tampa Tribune calls on Congress to reach across party lines and advance Congressman Tim Murphy’s landmark Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646, in an editorial board endorsement published today. The editors write how the crisis mental health legislation will increase funding for brain research, promote tele-psychiatry and increase the number of psychiatric beds by modifying the antiquated “Institutions For Mental Diseases” exclusion in Medicaid, allowing for more patients to receive mental health treatment before a tragedy occurs.  

Editorial: Confront Our Mental Health Crisis 
Editorial Board
December 1, 2015
President Obama obviously is going to push another futile effort to enact stronger gun laws in the aftermath of last week’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. His time would be better spent working with Congress on mental health legislation, where progress could be made.
But that won’t happen if Obama’s initial reaction is any indication. He immediately focused on guns after the shooting that killed three people, including a police officer: “We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.”
Some revised regulations may be justified, but new gun laws are not going to get anywhere with the country divided over their necessity and the Republican Congress opposed to them. 
In contrast, consensus might be reached on a critical issue related to mass shootings: mental health.
Yet Obama and the Democrats, so far, have not rallied to adopt the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act proposed by Rep. Tom Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican.
In many of the nation’s mass shootings, the killers were mentally deranged. There are few cases of average citizens suddenly going on a rampage because they have access to guns.
The suspect in the Colorado shooting is a case in point. He was an eccentric loner who babbled incoherently about government plots.
Murphy, who visited the Tribune editorial board last year with U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis to talk about the bill, told us he began studying the nation’s flawed mental health system after Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Lanza was mentally ill but refused to take his medication.
Mental illness was a factor in the shootings at the Aurora movie theater; Virginia Tech; the Tucson shooting that severely wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; Columbine and many others.
The proposal by Murphy, a psychologist, would lift a 16-bed cap in cases where Medicaid funds the care. It would promote “tele-psychiatry” to connect pediatricians and other physicians with mental health professionals in areas where patients have no or limited access to such care. It would increase brain research funding.
The legislation would encourage, with increased grants, states to adopt standards to allow for the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill who are a threat to others.
Murphy also would reform the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, bringing more accountability and seeking to ensure tax dollars were spent on effective therapies.
Improved mental health care won’t eliminate the threat of mass shootings. Racism, religious prejudice and religious zealotry, domestic violence, political extremism and many other factors contribute to the violence. But providing treatment for those with serious mental issues would undoubtedly prevent at least some individuals from reaching a murderous breaking point.
And as Murphy points out, improving mental health treatment also would reduce the rates of suicide, crime and homelessness.
Washington’s partisan divide shouldn’t stop members of both parties from seeing that the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act would be good for the country.
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BREAKING: HR 2646 Moves To Top of House Agenda


For Immediate Release: December 2, 2015
Contact: Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) landmark crisis mental health legislation, The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, continues to make headlines across the country this week as Speaker Paul D. Ryan voiced his support for H.R. 2646 as a necessary piece of legislation needed to fix our broken mental health system. 
Ryan Calls for Mental-Health Overhaul After Planned Parenthood Shooting 
The Wall Street Journal
December 1, 2015
Mr. Ryan pointed to legislation from Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) that would increase the number of inpatient psychiatric beds in the U.S., expand the mental-health workforce and authorize an early-intervention program, among other things. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to consider the bill soon. Mr. Murphy said his bill would enable those with mental illness to receive treatment sooner, making them less likely to become engaged in violent acts. – Kristina Peterson, Wall Street Journal
Paul Ryan Pushes Changes in Mental Health Care After Colorado Shooting New York Times 
December 1, 2015
 
Representative Tim Murphy, the Pennsylvania Republican who is a clinical psychologist and who introduced the bill, spent a year conducting research on the system after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He carried out that study at the request of House Republican leaders; his bill is under consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. – Emmarie Huetteman and Richard Perez-Pena 
Ryan’s nod could get mental health legislation moving Washington Post  
December 1, 2015
“Clearly we can do more, and one common denominator in these tragedies is mental illness, and that is why we need to look at fixing our nation’s mental illness health system,” Ryan said, pointing to a reform bill authored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) now awaiting final action in the Energy and Commerce Committee. “I’m sure that members of both parties have lots of ideas in this area, but we should make this a priority to prevent the violence and to protect our citizens.” – Mike DeBonis, Washington Post
GOP focuses on mental health after Colo. Shooting USA Today 
December 1, 2015
Mental illness causes tens of thousands of death a year through suicide, drug overdoses, and a range of ailments that afflict homeless people with mental illness, Murphy told USA TODAY Tuesday. "For the longest time these people and these families lived in that shadows and Congress like the rest of the country ignored them," Murphy said. The need to change the mental health system "is not about the shootings," Murphy said, "but if that's what gets people's attention, gets them to wake up, maybe (the victims) will not have died in vain." Murphy was a psychologist before being elected to Congress and is co-chair of its Mental Health Caucus.– Paul Singer, USA Today
Paul Ryan: 'Clearly we can do more' to address mental health issuesCNN.com 
December 1, 2015
The Speaker pointed to legislation crafted by Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, a clinical psychologist, that overhauls the mental health system and aims to get treatment earlier to those who could pose a danger to others. Murphy's bill is currently being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but some House GOP members want additional changes made to it before the House votes on it. The number two House Democrat, Rep Steny Hoyer of Maryland, agreed that focusing on mental health was an appropriate response to what happened in Colorado, but added there were concerns about "privacy rights" in the Murphy bill and said Republicans should work on a bipartisan proposal. –  Deirdre Walsh, CNN.com
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