In September 2020 Governor Newsom Signed AB 1976 into law. AB 1976 updates Laura’s law, Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), one of the provisions of this update is a new rule that counties have to implement AOT unless the county chooses to opt-out By May 1st, 2021. The changes were discussed at the Santa Clara County Health and Hospital Committee. The Behavioral Health Services Department presented a report on February 17 describing the various programs currently run by the department. They indicated that they expect to send a report in April to the Board of Supervisors, recommending that Santa Clara County opt-out of the program.
Supervisors Joe Simitian and Otto Lee wanted to have more discussion about AOT and set up a date for a special committee meeting of the Health and Hospital Committee for March 24, 10:00 AM. This is a public meeting and time will be allocated for public comment.
The Behavioral Health Services Department has set up 3 Stakeholder meetings to discuss AOT prior to the March 24 meeting. These meetings will occur on March 4, 9, and 16 (Click the buttons on the right for registration information).
Laura’s Law first passed in 2002 and since revised, enabled counties to start Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs for people with severe mental illness who are deemed likely to deteriorate to the point that they would meet the standard for involuntary commitment if they didn’t get help. Counties that voted to take part in the program had to first offer intensive outpatient treatment on a voluntary basis. If a person declined to take part, the law authorizes county officials to institute a judicial proceeding and allows judges, after a hearing, to order them to receive outpatient treatment. AB 1976 would change several aspects of the program, including these: It would require counties that do not wish to take part to opt-out of the program, rather than allowing counties to opt-in. It would extend the program beyond 2022, the current sunset date, and make it permanent. And it would allow groups of counties to implement the program together