LA Times Via Yahoo News
Gov. Gavin Newsom helps clean a homeless encampment alongside a freeway in San Diego. The governor’s new plan to create a court-ordered treatment effort is being sharply criticized by anti-poverty groups and civil libertarians. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
Six weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a far-reaching effort to push more people into court-ordered treatment for severe mental illness and addiction, homeless advocates are calling it legally misguided and immoral as the proposal’s first public hearing at the state Capitol has been delayed. More than three dozen organizations and individuals, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Disability Rights California and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, signed an April 12 opposition letter raising serious concerns with Assembly Bill 2830, one of two nearly identical measures moving through the Legislature to implement Newsom’s Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court. The groups often have significant sway among liberal legislative Democrats, the kind of influence that could hinder Newsom’s hopes for a new law to be in place by July 1. Newsom touted the CARE Court framework last month as an innovative strategy to guide an estimated 7,000 to 12,000 people into housing and much-needed treatment. Under the proposal, family members, behavioral health care providers and first responders, among others, could petition a civil judge to initiate a CARE plan for eligible individuals who lack medical decision-making capacity.