MENTAL HEALTH BILL AMENDMENT REJECTED

By Bob Katzen

House 42-111, rejected an amendment that would require the court, within 24 hours of the issuance of an ERPO, to assign a mental health counselor to evaluate the individual, assess counseling needs and establish a counseling outline and program. It also requires the Department of Mental Health, if considered necessary, to establish a mental health counseling program for the individual and report back to the court.

Amendment supporters said the issue of mental health is not sufficiently addressed in the bill. They argued the amendment provides a system to determine if the person needs mental health counseling. They noted that without this amendment, the bill only requires the person to be given informational resources, including a list of services relating to crisis intervention, mental health, substance abuse and counseling.

Amendment opponents said the amendment is well-intentioned but would contribute to the stigmatization of mentally ill people. They said the purpose of the bill is to take weapons away from dangerous people. They argued the mental health components should be addressed in a separate bill.

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