State Legislators Consider Expanding Mental Health Law

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — California lawmakers are seeking to expand a decade-old law that lets counties pursue court-ordered mental health treatment for those who refuse to get help on their own.

The renewed focus on Laura’s Law, which is in place in just two counties, comes as lawmakers seek ways to stop the kinds of mass violence experienced last year in Connecticut and Colorado. Both involved young men with mental health troubles.

The 2002 law can be used only if a judge finds that a patient is not getting treatment voluntarily, has a history of hospitalization or violent behavior, and may be dangerous.

Five lawmakers, including the Democratic leader of the state Senate and the Republican leader in the Assembly, have introduced bills that would expand the law or provide money to support it.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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