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Legislation Introduced to Help Implement Laura's Law

On the 12th anniversary of a mass shooting in Nevada County, Sen. Leland Yee has announced legislation that assists those with mental illness.

Sen. Leland Yee has announced legistlation to help counties implement Laura's Law, a program that allows enforcement of Assisted Outpatient Treatment orders for some potentially dangerous mentally ill patients.

Yee released a statement Thursday, on the 12-year anniversary of a mass shooting in Nevada County that left three people dead, including Laura Wilcox.

Specifically, Yee plans to remove unnecessary and cumbersome barriers to implementation of Laura’s Law, such as allowing counties to use existing mental health funds to implement the program as well as removing the requirement of a vote of the local county board of supervisors, according to his office.

“While we should not draw direct correlations between mental illness and all acts of violence, both mental health treatment and reasonable gun control should be part of a comprehensive response to protect children and families,” Yee said. “It is imperative that we find ways to implement Laura’s Law throughout California.”

Laura's Law allows counties to assure that court-ordered help reaches people who are not complying with voluntary treatment programs, have a history of hospitalization, arrest or violent behavior and are potentially dangerous to themselves or others.

Many counties have failed to implement Laura's Law despite the fact that the policy has proven to result in less hospitalization, less homelessness, fewer arrests, less incarceration, increased collaboration between the mental health and justice systems, as well as a more efficient and effective cross-agency delivery system, according to Yee's office.

Catherine M January 11, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Laura's Law is not solely intended for people who may be dangerous to others, but for those who have slipped into psychosis in a manner that leaves them unable to seek treatment of any kind, and therefore physically endangered themselves. It's going to be especially useful for young people who are struggling with the early years of unmanaged psychosis, refusing treatment, getting arrested multiple times, and then ending up in the criminal justice system. The law focuses on outpatient treatment, so ill people experience fewer hospitalizations. We're grateful to Senator Yee for his rational and intelligent contributions in this area.

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