Significant Progress Made on Two Problematic Bills
June 23, 2016
We are pleased to report two new neutral positions on measures that we have opposed since January of 2015. Recent amendments in response to county concerns have allowed CSAC to adopt a neutral position for both.
AB 1836 (Maienschein) would have authorized a Probate Court to recommend a Lanterman-Petris-Short Act conservatorship to a county conservatorship officer and compel that officer to conduct an investigation and submit a report to the Probate Court. After many months of discussion and a veto last year of an identical bill (AB 193, also by Assembly Member Maienschein), the bill was amended on June 15 to allow a Probate Judge to refer a probate conservatee to a county mental health plan for an assessment. We agree that those who may be gravely disabled due to serious mental illness should be assessed, and have therefore removed our opposition and adopted a neutral position.
CSAC also adopted a neutral position on AB 1300, by Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. We had strongly opposed the eight previous incarnations of the bill, but the June 21 amendments simply add emergency physicians to the list of professionals who can place a 5150 hold on patients experiencing a mental health emergency. Patients would still need to be assessed by a designated county mental health professional, and then linked to the appropriate level of treatment and services. There are still some questions surrounding the liability protections for emergency physicians, and CSAC is supportive of clarifying that these physicians would be protected under the same liability provisions as current professionals with the authority to place a hold, such as peace officers.