Gov. John Hickenlooper Thursday vetoed a bill that would have expanded the number of places a person can be placed during a mental health hold, and the length of time that place can be in a jail or emergency room while awaiting a bed in a facility.
The legislation, Senate Bill 169, had passed the legislature with broad, and bipartisan, support. In his veto letter, Hickenlooper called the bill “well-intentioned.”
“We agree that appropriate mental health facilities are not always readily available to treat persons having a mental health crisis. While well-intentioned, we are concerned that (the bill) does not provide adequate due process for individuals,” stated the veto letter signed by Hickenlooper.
One of the bill sponsors, Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp D-Arvada, said lawmakers were aware of the concerns.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t be a veto,” Kraft-Tharp said. “But I’m not necessarily surprised.”
Kraft-Tharp said the bill incorporated due process because it would have required court approval to extend the time a person is held in a jail during emergencies such as when a transport to a facility with a bed is not possible quickly.
“No limit is placed for how long an emergency room may detain someone involuntarily while awaiting a free bed in a suitable treatment facility, and more importantly, no mechanism is made to afford due process to a person held involuntarily in “emergency” custody,” Hickenlooper’s letter states. “We have due process concerns for these individuals.”
What do you think? Be part of the conversation. Express your thoughts in the comments below…
Looking for an opportunity within the Mental Health Care field?
Check out our Active Opportunities anytime online through the link below.
We look forward to working with you!