State House plan would fund bill pushed by parents of mentally ill Capitol Hill man

Staff writerFebruary 26, 2014 

A budget proposal unveiled Wednesday by state House Democrats would put $10 million toward making it easier to involuntarily commit mentally ill residents.

The money would fund 48 new mental-health treatment beds and three new intensive outpatient treatment teams.

It is directly aimed at House Bill 2725, which was pushed by the parents of Joel Reuter, a mentally ill man killed by police last July after firing at officers near his Capitol Hill condo. The parents had tried unsuccessfully to get their son committed for weeks before the incident.

“Joel’s Law” would increase commitments because it would allow people to appeal to a court if county officials decline to involuntarily commit a mentally ill family member.

“We’ve gotta do it,” said House budget-writer Ross Hunter, D-Medina. “We’re like last in the country in community mental-health funding. It’s just crazy.”

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