Times, Chronicle Support Court-Ordered Treatment Bill
A bill (AB 1421) sponsored by Assembly member Helen Thomson (D-Davis) that would allow court-ordered treatment for mentally ill people is "a good first step toward a more balanced public policy," a Los Angeles Times editorial says, but the bill needs "fine-tuning." "We must not pretend ... that what Thomson proposes is anything less than a significant widening of the state's authority," the Times says. Therefore, as the Legislature considers the bill this week, Thomson "should listen closely to mental health advocates who contend that the bill, as worded, is too broad in defining those on whom a judge could impose treatment." The editorial adds, "We encourage [Thomson] to once again take full measure of the bill's civil rights protections. Then, with reasonable protections adopted, the bill should go forward" (Los Angeles Times, 5/7).
A San Francisco Chronicle editorial today "strongly urge[s]" the Assembly Judiciary Committee to pass AB 1421. The editorial acknowledges that "many people are concerned about protecting the civil rights of the mentally ill," but notes that "AB 1421 addresses this important issue by guaranteeing due process rights. No medication can be compelled unless family members and a range of mental health professionals are consulted." The Chronicle concludes, "The cost of warehousing the mentally ill in prisons or hospitals is exorbitant. Equally important, anyone who suffers severe mental disease deserves treatment and the opportunity to live a normal life" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/7).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.