Six of the eight bills from Senator Eggman’s package of proposed conservatorship and LPS reforms are still moving through the Legislature. As many of you know, this package of bills is co-sponsored by CSAP. Of particular note, this week SB 1227 passed unanimously out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. SB 1227 would double the length of time that a person can be detained on an involuntarily 30-day hold for intensive treatment to allow an additional 30 days detention if the professional staff of the facility treating the person finds that the person remains gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism and remains unwilling or unable to accept treatment voluntarily. However, to ensure that the person is not wrongly held, the bill, as recently amended, requires that before the person can be detained for that additional 30-day period, a court must review and approve the requested extension. CSAP advocate Paul Yoder was one of the lead witnesses in support of the bill.
Unfortunately, SB 1416, Assembly Judiciary Chairman Mark Stone never relented and refused to set for hearing SB 1416, which would change California’s definition of grave disability. Similarly, Chairman Stone offered amendments to SB 965 that Senator Eggman nor her co-sponsors could accept as they would have completely undermined the bill’s intent. SB 965 proposes to create, in a proceeding under the LPS Act, an exception to the rule against hearsay that allows an expert witness to rely on the out-of-court statements of medical professionals, as defined, who have treated the person who is the subject of the conservatorship petition.
The six bills that are still alive will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee in August after the Legislature returns from their summer recess, which begins today and runs through the entire month of July.
As reported previously, Senator Eggman and her co-sponsors, including CSAP, continue to explore options to resuscitate the proposal in SB 1416 by finding another legislative vehicle to amend in August. Efforts are ongoing to convince Assembly leadership to override Chairman Stone’s refusal to set the bill. Regardless, the fact that six of the eight bills are still moving, and most likely will get to the Governor’s desk, is a testament to – first and foremost – Senator Eggman’s tenaciousness, as well as the efforts of CSAP and other organizations and interests.