Laura’s Law reintroduced in state legislature
Senior staff writer
Laura’s Law, which was spurred by the Jan. 10, 2001, fatal shootings in western Nevada County, has been reintroduced in the California legislature.
The law was named after Laura Wilcox, who was killed along with two other people that day by mental patient Scott Thorpe. After her death, Laura’s parents Nick and Amanda Wilcox were prominent in getting Laura’s Law passed in 2002.
The law allows California counties to commit mental patients involuntarily to treatment with a court order, if they are deemed a risk to themselves or others. The initial law included no money to implement it, and sunsets on Jan. 1, 2008.
Except for a short period of time when it was utilized at the Los Angeles County Jail, Laura’s Law has not been used in California, including Nevada County. The lack of funding and a lawsuit that stopped it at the Los Angeles County jail have rendered the original law toothless and caused the Wilcox family to spring back into action.
The new version of the law is the same as the last, according to Nick Wilcox But there are hopes it can now be implemented with its reintroduction, and Prop. 63 Mental Health Act monies approved by voters last year.
“It’s important to note that Nevada County wants to implement it,” Wilcox said Wednesday morning. That plan was unveiled in the county’s recent proposal to the state on how it intends to use Prop. 63 monies.
In a lawsuit the county settled with the Wilcox family over the shootings, it was agreed that mental health officials would try to use Prop. 63 monies here to implement Laura’s Law.
Wilcox said the law still has hurdles and it is still unsure whether the state will allow Prop. 63 monies to implement it. He said he and his wife will spend the next few weeks trying to persuade legislators to pass and fund the law.
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