Bill Backs Mental Health Treatment Program

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state Senate has approved legislation making it clear that counties can use money from a special tax on millionaires for programs that provide court-ordered mental health treatment for those who refuse to get help on their own.

Supporters of Laura's Law sought the bill in hopes that counties will expand the decade-old intervention program.

So far, just two of California's 58 counties let a judge order involuntary treatment if a patient is not getting help voluntarily, has a history of hospitalization or violent behavior, and might be dangerous.

SB585 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg would let counties use Proposition 63 money for Laura's Law. The initiative raises $1 billion a year for early intervention and treatment.

The bill was approved unanimously Monday and moves to the Assembly.

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