House sends fast-tracked mental health bill to Gov. Inslee - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

House sends fast-tracked mental health bill to Gov. Inslee

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A bill to establish a 14-day deadline for mental health evaluations of people charged in crimes has passed the Washington Legislature and is headed to Gov. Inslee for his signature. A bill to establish a 14-day deadline for mental health evaluations of people charged in crimes has passed the Washington Legislature and is headed to Gov. Inslee for his signature.
OLYMPIA, Wash. -

A bill to establish a 14-day deadline for mental health evaluations of people charged in crimes has passed the Washington Legislature and is headed to Gov. Inslee for his signature.

By a wide margin, a bipartisan group of House members Monday passed the measure that gives a hard deadline to complete mental-health screenings of defendants in jail or in state hospitals. The measure previously passed the Senate. Washington is currently defending a class-action lawsuit over allegations some defendants have been forced to stay in jails for weeks or months while waiting for evaluations. Existing policy gives jails and hospitals a one-week target to evaluate the mental health of people in custody. A lack of beds and staff has led to long waitlists.

Under the bill, any facility that exceeds 14 days in completing evaluations must face the governor and Legislature.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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