New Bill Will Assist Courts with Mentally Ill Treatment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Involuntary Commitment Bill Will Assist Courts with Mentally Ill Treatment

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- A new law will change how Washington courts determine if a person should be involuntarily committed to a mental health treatment facility.

It's a new regulation that was partially inspired by the murder of a Kennewick grandmother last year.

On Tuesday, Governor Inslee signed new legislation into law that allows courts and mental health professionals to consider information from family and friends about patients who face involuntary commitment to a treatment facility.

The law aims to give the judicial system better access to information that could put mentally ill people into treatment to keep them and the community safer.

Senator Karen Keiser of Kent sponsored the bill.

She said over the last decade, 39 people in more than a dozen situations were killed in Washington by someone with a mental illness.

"You're in fear of your own life, perhaps of your family's life or perhaps of your community's public safety, it seems only common sense that that person have the ability to inform a mental health professional of the situation as they see it," said Senator Keiser.

The case of Adam Williams, who's accused of killing his grandmother in her Finley home last year is another example of a situation where this new law could've helped.

Currently it's not legal for family, friends or even ER physicians to share their thoughts with the courts on people being considered for involuntary commitment.

This law will become effective in July of 2014.