Bill to make it easier to detain mentally ill dies
SEATTLE (AP) — A father who lost his suicidal son in a standoff with police says he’s disappointed that a bill that would have made it easier to detain mentally ill people in crisis has died at the Washington Legislature.
Doug Reuter says he hasn’t given up hope that lawmakers will change the state’s Involuntary Treatment Act by adding the failed bill to one that’s still in play.
Reuter testified that if Washington’s civil commitment act had been expanded to include people with a “persistent or acute disability,” his son might still be alive. House Bill 1451 sought to make that change but it has failed.
Mike De Felice, with the public defense team at the Civil Commitment Court, says if the bill had passed, it would have put pressure on a system that’s already bursting at the seams.