Sheena Henderson family sees mental health reform bill signed in - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sheena Henderson family sees mental health reform bill signed into law

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Gary Kennison speaking with KHQ last year. Gary Kennison speaking with KHQ last year.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Last April, surrounded by Sheena's family, Gov. Jay Inslee passed the Sheena Henderson Act, which requires law enforcement to notify families when confiscated guns were going to be returned. The act was named for a Spokane woman who was killed in a murder-suicide at Deaconess Hospital by her husband who had a history of mental illness.

It was a long road for Sheena's father, Gary Kennison, who began working on the legislation with local lawmakers immediately after his daughter's death.

Friday, a little less than a year later, a second bill introduced by Sheena's family was signed into law. This one addressing how law enforcement deals with mental health issues.

House Bill 1448 requires law enforcement who respond to a suicide attempt or threat to notify a mental health professional within 72 hours. Mental health officials can then determine whether they should be involuntarily committed.

"My daughter's legacy will live on," Kennison said. 

Kennison says he now hopes to get a similar bill passed in Oregon and eventually nationwide so families never have to go through what their family did.

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