JUNEAU (AP) -- The Senate voted Monday to create a 15-member suicide prevention council.
Senate President Rick Halford, R-Chugiak, sponsored Senate Bill 198, which is aimed at reducing a state suicide rate that is about double the national average. The council would be charged with finding ways to enhance suicide prevention programs and services across Alaska.
The bill calls for a council made up of minority and majority members of the House and Senate and 11 members appointed by the governor, including a member of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Advisory Board, a secondary school counselor, a member of the clergy, a person under 18 and a person recommended by the Alaska Federation of Natives.
The group would advise the governor and the Legislature on what can be done to reduce suicide, broaden public awareness of the risks and enhance prevention services.
The estimated annual cost of the council for $250,000.
The measure passed 19-1, with Sen. Randy Phillips, R-Eagle River, voting no. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
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