Butte County reconsiders 'Laura's Law'

Butte County leaders are reconsidering a law in an attempt to fight homelessness and help people who are suffering from mental illnesses.

Posted: Jan 27, 2020 6:04 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif- Butte County leaders are reconsidering a law aimed to fight homelessness and help people who are suffering from mental illnesses.

"Laura's Law" is a court-ordered treatment for those suffering from a severe mental illness.

It is named after a 19-year-old woman named Laura Wilcox who was shot and killed in Nevada County by a man who social workers had been trying to have institutionalized in 2001.

The last time this law was proposed here in Butte County was in 2016.

It was not implemented because county leaders said there was little data to support it.

But it is once again being considered.

Butte County District 1 Supervisor Bill Connelly says the county is looking to apply for a $4 million dollar grant to fund the program.

We spoke with a mother whose son suffers from schizophrenia, she says she fully supports “Laura’s Law."

Lisa Currier says, "It’s a hard situation for us as families, we cry a lot and we have to stay strong in order to get our loved ones help and that help should not be through police interaction."

Action News Now spoke to people in Chico about the proposed law.

Richard Drouillard, from Chico says, "Down the street there's a guy sleeping on the sidewalk, there's another guy sleeping on another sidewalk. Those people aren't doing that because they want to, and I don't think they have all the help they need, they could use a nudge to help get them intro treatment."

If the county receives the grant money, a pilot program comprised of trained teams within the community will be put in place.

If the program is given the green light, the client must be at least 18 years old and suffering from a diagnosed mental illness.

Ultimately a judge would make the decision about whether or not the person fits the requirements, that person would then have to seek treatment.

This is one of the topics that will be discussed during Tuesday night's Butte County Board of Supervisors Meeting. 

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