Democrats in Nevada County are pushing all California Counties to adopt the Assisted Outpatient Treatment program element of Laura’s Law.
The urging came in the form of resolution from the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee’s Feb. 21 meeting.
Nevada County is a rarity in its adoption of Laura’s Law.
The law is named for Laura Wilcox, 19, who was one of three people killed Jan 10, 2001, when a mentally ill man, Scott Thorpe, went on a shooting rampage throughout western Nevada County.
A patient cannot be forced to take antipsychotic drugs under the law; other existing laws and procedures dictate how someone can be medicated. If someone does not follow their court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment plan, then those other laws and procedures can be invoked under Laura’s Law.
California counties have not implemented Laura’s Law despite the fact the policy has proven to be effective in reducing incarcerations by 65 percent, reducing hospitalizations by 46 percent and homelessness by 61 percent, reads a portion of the resolution. The resolution also calls on the California Democratic Party to urge the California Congressional Delegation to introduce legislation at the national level patterned after Kendra’s Law and Laura’s Law.
“We appreciate the leadership of the Nevada County Democrats in promoting the implementation of Laura’s Law across our state and nation,” Amanda Wilcox, mother of Laura Wilcox and a Northern California leader of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, stated in response to the Democrats’ resolution.
“Nevada County should be proud of the success of Laura’s Law in getting persons with severe mental illness into needed treatment,” she said.
NOTE: An earlier version of this article misrepresented the actions that may be carried out under the law and has since been corrected. The Union regrets the error.