Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township is sponsoring House Bill 5810. It expands the criteria for individuals needing assisted outpatient treatment if they pose a significant threat of physical harm to themselves or others.

The bill will be taken up on Wednesday in the House Health Policy Committee, where Vaupel serves as chairman. Vaupel says the if there is threat of harm or a person committing something very harmful, then HB 5810 would assist law enforcement in getting them help or to a hospital a little bit easier. He says it’s kind of a rewrite of the bill known as Kevin’s Law. Vaupel says it deals with people who are having mental health issues but are not be able to recognize they need help and getting them assisted outpatient treatment prior to a disaster happening. Vaupel has also been talking with law enforcement about some of the recent school violence incidents. He says they’ve indicated that they do identify people who are having issues in the community and if they could do something earlier, then they could perhaps head off some issues but HIPPA laws pose barriers and they have a hard time finding out if a person has been treated.

Vaupel co-chaired the House C.A.R.E.S. or Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety Task Force in 2017, which assembled an in-depth report. He says more than 40 of the recommendations made by C.A.R.E.S. have found their way into legislation, which is intended to provide better approaches to substance abuse and the corrections system. (JM)