Gov. Tim Kaine signed multiple bills concerning the treatment of people with mental illnesses yesterday.
Prompted by the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech, the bills addressed a number of aspects of mental health treatment, including criteria for committing someone to a mental health facility when there is "a substantial likelihood that, as a result of mental illness, the defendant will, in the near future, cause serious physical harm to himself or others as evidenced by recent behavior causing, attempting, or threatening harm and other relevant information, if any," according to the press release, and disclosure of information that could be considered for committing someone to such a health facility.
"The Virginia Tech tragedy reminded us that we must address the mental health needs of those in our family, among our friends, and in our community," Kaine said in a press release. "Working with members of the General Assembly, we will make significant investments in our mental health system and the bills before me today will establish standards for the system and increase accounta-bility."
Other mental health bills put before Kaine included the role of mental health in schools, court procedures, access to firearms and for minors. The General Assembly also determined allocations of the biennium budget and the additional mental health budget.
Gun control advocate Lori Haas, whose daughter Emily was wounded in the shootings, was pleased with the signing of yesterday's bills.
"They were all laws that were completely necessary," Haas said. "And they will be helpful to the mental health community in treating people; they are good laws and I think that they were wisely supported."
The full press release from Governor Kaine can be viewed on our Web site www.collegiatetimes.com.