Involuntary Commitment Bill Is Defeated By The Wyoming Senate

Feb 24, 2014

A bill that would change the way the state handles those who may need to be hospitalized due to mental illness was defeated by the Wyoming Senate. 

Right now, a Judge needs to rule on involuntary commitment within 72 hours of a person being detained. The bill allowed a medical professional to require someone to be hospitalized and receive treatment immediately.  A court hearing would later determine if someone should be held longer. 

Senator Larry Hicks told the Senate that approach violates due process.

“I think this is probably an attempt to do the right thing but I cannot reconcile with my conscience with the duty that I took with the oath of office.  I do fundamentally believe that this is depriving people of the due process of law.”

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union also opposed the bill. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Schiffer favors the idea of getting someone treatment sooner, but he admitted it was a major policy decision for the state.