Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed HB 16. The new law, which takes effect in October, will make it easier for people with severe mental illness to get treatment by allowing an officer to initiate an emergency evaluation for a person with mental illness who appears unable to meet his or her own basic needs of clothing, shelter, food, health or safety. Currently, the law requires imminent danger of death or bodily harm before an officer can initiate an emergency evaluation. The bill was supported by a number of Montana advocates who worked tirelessly for its passage.
Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed HB 1130 into law. The bill will further empower police officers to detain and transport people with severe mental illness who appear to be gravely disabled for psychiatric evaluation. This new law will ultimately make it much easier to secure treatment for people in the midst of a crisis.
Both bills illustrate how strong the tide of reform is this year. However they are achieved, treatment law reforms save lives and family and are cause for celebration. We are celebrating these and applauding the policy makers and advocates who made them happen.
–The Treatment Advocacy Center