Today's Law As Amended

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SB-1250 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Propelled by a national outcry over the dismal and inhumane treatment of those committed to state institutions and in response to a provocative legislative committee report, “The Dilemma of Mental Commitments in California,” the state began to draft legislative proposals that would curtail judicial oversight and restore admission rights to medical professionals. This legislation also provided police with detention and emergency admission rights. The intention of the legislation was to curb the severe abuses occurring in California mental institutions and cease unjustified lifetime commitments.
(2) Passed in 1967 by the Legislature and signed by Governor Ronald Reagan, the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS Act, Chapter 1667 of the Statutes of 1967) established a new system for involuntary civil commitments for the mentally ill in California and attempted to move treatment from state hospitals to a community-based approach while balancing civil liberties for those needing treatment.
(3) After the implementation of the LPS Act, many individuals were released from mental institutions under the pretense of restoring their civil liberties and movement without restraint in a controlled facility.
(4) Shifts in civil commitment laws and a move to community-based treatment had major implications for multiple state agencies, departments, and organizations. During the transition, it was unclear where these formerly committed individuals would go, who would be responsible for their treatment, and what the future would hold for those formerly tasked with caring for these individuals.
(5) The LPS Act created a series of pathways for an individual to be held involuntarily for 72 hours for evaluation and, if necessary, be conserved for increasingly longer periods of time. Unfortunately, counties were, and continue to be, inconsistent in their application of the LPS Act. Additionally, there is a bed shortage throughout the state. Of the 58 counties in California, only 33 have inpatient psychiatric services.
(6) Community support and necessary funding for the new standards of treatment established in the LPS Act never materialized. Worse still, intervention methods for the mentally ill were only available after previously institutionalized individuals had deteriorated and become a danger to themselves or others, requiring unnecessarily rigorous thresholds to be classified as “gravely disabled.”
(7) If someone suffers from dementia or has a traumatic head injury they are likely to be treated with comprehensive medical care and not left to their own devices. However, access to voluntary treatment is especially difficult for those with anosognosia because they often do not understand that they have a mental illness.
(8) California is facing a homelessness crisis on an unprecedented scale. Twenty-five percent of the nation’s homeless population lives in our state, which has only been exacerbated by the mentally ill who have been relegated to the streets due to deinstitutionalization.
(9) Society has come full circle on how it addresses the issue of mental illness. California has moved from unforgivable abuses occurring in institutions created to protect the mentally ill to displacing this vulnerable population back to the very jails, prisons, and streets from which they were saved. Reactionary legislation did not establish a firm foundation for reform so we could better treat those with mental illness. Many informed observers agree that the LPS Act has fallen well short of its goals.
(10) The last one-half century of failed policies needs to change. We must provide proper resources to treat our severely mentally ill population with dignity and with humane and voluntary treatment options that create a compassionate process to deal with those who are gravely disabled and not able to properly care for themselves.
(11) Californians can and should do better for our mentally ill brothers and sisters.
(12) The goals of any reform of the LPS Act should include all of the following:
(A) Delivery of the best evidence-based mental health care and a sufficient capacity of clean, quality, safe, and secure community-based mental health services.
(B) Focus on rehabilitative, whole-person care.
(C) Provide the lowest reasonable barriers to entry with “no wrong door” to services.
(D) Allow for the quickest reintegration into a meaningful life in the community.
(E) Empower family, develop community relationships, and cultivate responsibility for the mentally ill.
(F) Endorse early detection and treatment.
(G) Pledge the least restrictive settings for the treated individual that allow for their maximum agency without precluding involuntary care given the gravity of the diagnosis.
(H) Require mental health care parity with physical medical care by enforcing state and federal parity laws.
(I) Require optimal crisis response learned through best practices.
(J) Triage and emphasize services for the seriously mentally ill.
(K) Delivery of services in a linguistically and culturally appropriate manner.
(L) Provide excellent care that is mindful of costs and fiscally prudent with respect to human life.
(M) Be open to best practices adopted by any other jurisdiction throughout the United States.
(13) Outcomes of implementing reform that includes the components identified in paragraph (12) may include the following:
(A) A decline in the stigma of mental illness accompanied with a change in culture and language.
(B) A full range of options in life, educational opportunities, career achievement, and family happiness.
(C) Lower incarceration rates of the seriously mentally ill because individuals will receive needed treatment.
(D) Reduced numbers of the mentally ill homeless population.
(b) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to repeal and replace the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967.