Hertzberg Bill Removing Barriers to Mental Health Evaluations Clears First Hurdle
SB 931 passes in Senate Public Safety Committee on 6-0 vote, heads to Senate Floor
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, announced today that his bill to ensure that a person’s custody status is not the sole reason for delaying a mental health evaluation is headed for a vote on the Senate Floor.
Under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967, public guardians or conservators can help individuals receive treatment from medical facilities and look after their welfare and financial matters. It is an indispensable resource that allows a court-approved adult to provide for the welfare and safety of a gravely mentally ill adult.
However, current law considers a person “safe” while in custody, meaning some evaluations are delayed. SB 931 specifies that a person’s custody status cannot be used as the only justification for postponing their psychiatric evaluation for a conservatorship and specifies the authority of county jail medical staff to recommend conservatorships.
“Forcing the most mentally disabled to sit in a cell waiting for help – which they can’t even ask for themselves – adds to the challenges they and our jails face on a daily basis,” said Sen. Hertzberg. “This bill will provide treatment options for those who need it most.”
The importance of LPS conservatorships cannot be understated, especially if and when a gravely disabled person is booked in jail. These individuals should be evaluated for conservatorships as soon as possible after being booked in jail in order to provide the maximum number of treatment options.
SB 931, which is sponsored by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, passed out of the Senate Committee on Public Safety on a 6-0 bipartisan vote and will be scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate.
Media Contact: Katie Hanzlik
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038