L.A. County Supervisors Support Court-Ordered Mental Health Care Bills
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution -- authored by Supervisor Michael Antonovich -- to support Laura's Law, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports (Romney, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/14).
Laura's Law allows courts to mandate treatment for residents with severe mental health conditions and a history of violence or hospitalization. California's counties are allowed to decide whether to implement the law. So far, Nevada County is the only county to implement the law (California Healthline, 8/28/12).
At Antonovich's urging, Los Angeles County implemented a pilot program that offers the same intensive care required by Laura's Law, but it does not include involuntary court orders.
Details of the Resolution
The resolution calls on Los Angeles County's CEO and legislative advocates to support five new state bills that would boost Laura's Law and make it easier for counties to secure mental health care "for those who refuse to get help on their own."
The bills backed by the resolution would:
- Eliminate the requirement of board of supervisor approval;
- Lengthen the court-ordered period for mental health treatment from six months to one year;
- Add those who are treated under Laura's Law to the state's database of individuals prohibited from owning firearms; and
- Clarify that counties can use existing revenue, as well as revenue from Proposition 63 -- also known as The Mental Health Services Act -- for Laura's Law ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/14).
Prop. 63 has raised at least $7.4 billion through a 1% tax on residents with incomes greater than $1 million annually (California Healthline, 8/16/12).
Response From Mental Health Expert
DJ Jaffe -- executive director of Mental Illness Policy Org, which backs services such as those provided through Laura's Law -- said he applauds the supervisors' decision to back the bills.
However, he said, "the first thing L.A. County supervisors should do is expand the program that they have and make it serve people who refuse treatment" ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.