Motion Passed by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 3/13/2013 in favor of statewide implementation of Laura’s Law

                                                                                                                                      AGN. NO.
MOTION BY SUPERVISOR MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH                             March 12, 2013
Laura’s Law (AB 1421) under Welfare and Institutions Code 5347 established a demonstration project for assisted outpatient treatment.  Laura’s Law, which is patterned after New York State’s Kendra’s Law, has shown tremendous success after just five years.  Data conclusively demonstrates that assisted outpatient treatment significantly reduces severe consequences for participants, for example:

  • 74% fewer people experienced homelessness
  • 77% fewer experienced psychiatric hospitalization
  • 83% fewer experienced arrest

This is even more critical since the passage of the Governor’s Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 which has placed a significant demand on the County’s Department of Mental Health.  Over 3,745 post-release supervised persons have been assessed by the Department of Mental Health and are receiving on-going treatment.
However, there are several features in Laura’s Law that hamper the implementation a program similar to Kendra’s Law in Los Angeles County.  The limitations include:

  1. Lack of State Funding – The legislation did not include any dedicated funds for implementation of AOT.  Given the State of California’s current fiscal condition and the subsequent cuts that county mental health departments have received, increasing the size of an intensive program such as AOT is difficult;
  1. Restriction on County’s Use of  MHSA Funds and Other Funding Sources  – Restrictions preclude county mental health departments from supplanting or reducing other mental health services to fund AOT; and
  1. Administrative Burden – Although Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) staff has worked with the courts to improve the process to place a person in the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program, it is still a lengthy and expensive process.  Persons who do not comply with an AOT order may only be evaluated for a further hold under Welfare and Institutions Code 5150.  No other court based mechanisms are available for providing treatment to individuals who may meet AOT criteria but not 5150 criteria and refuse to comply with the AOT order.  An AOT order itself may not be effective enough to produce compliance given the law provides few mechanisms for enforcement.  An AOT order for treatment does not include authority for administration of medications involuntarily; an additional hearing and order by the court is needed prior to involuntary administration of medication.

Currently, there is a bi-partisan effort to expand Laura’s Law that lets counties pursue court-ordered mental health treatment for those who refuse to get help on their own.  The following introduced bills would expand the law or provide funding to support it.

  • SB585 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento, would allow counties to use Proposition 63 money for Laura’s Law.
  • AB1367 by Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, Costa Mesa would allow counties to use Proposition 63 money for Laura’s Law.
  • SB664, by Sen. Leland Yee, San Francisco would allow counties to use existing revenue for Laura’s Law.
  • AB1265, by Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, Tulare would extend the initial period of court-ordered treatment under Laura’s Law from six months to one year.
  • SB755, by Sen. Lois Wolk, Davis would add someone treated under Laura’s Law to the list of those prohibited from owning firearms, among other provisions.

I, THEREFORE, MOVE that the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors support SB585, SB755, AB1367, SB664, and AB1265 and direct the Chief Executive Officer to do the following:

  1. Draft a letter of support for SB585, SB755, AB1367, SB664, and AB1265 to be sent to the members of the California legislature; and
  1. Direct Los Angeles County’s legislative advocates support SB585, SB755, AB1367, SB664, and AB1265 at the appropriate committee hearing.