Bill extends law forcing treatment of mentally ill

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – State lawmakers have sent the governor an extension of a law that allows courts to force people with mental illness into treatment. The extension passed the Assembly 61-3 Wednesday.

AB1569 extends Laura’s Law, which is set to expire next year, until 2017. The decade-old law allows courts to mandate treatment for people with severe mental illness and a history of violence.

Democratic Assemblyman Mike Allen of Santa Rosa said he sponsored the extension because Laura’s Law is a necessary tool. Fellow Democratic Assemblyman Wes Chesbro argued that the state should instead fully fund voluntary mental health programs.

The law is named for teenager Laura Wilcox, who was shot to death in Nevada City by a man with untreated schizophrenia. Counties decide individually whether to implement it.

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