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Rep. Galonski testifies on bipartisan bill to establish psychiatric deterioration standard in probate law

November 16, 2021
Tavia Galonski News

COLUMBUS– State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today gave sponsor testimony before the House Civil Justice Committee on House Bill (HB) 439, a bipartisan bill which would establish a deterioration standard for mental illness in probate law. This legislation would make it possible to hospitalize a person suffering from severe mental illness, even if they do not pose immediate danger to themselves or others and are capable of meeting their basic survival needs. 

“To date, 21 states have adopted some form of a psychiatric deviation standard,” said Rep. Galonski. “HB 439 is a much-needed update to Ohio’s current probate law.”

HB 439 would: 

·         Allow the courts to intervene sooner in order to reduce an individual’s risk of negative societal consequences (arrest, incarceration, homelessness, loss of employment, etc.);

·         Create a smooth legal framework for the transition from involuntary hospitalization to outpatient treatment;

·         Reduce the need to criminalize an individual in order for them to receive treatment;

·         Encourage judges to consider factors such as treatment history and the likelihood of further psychiatric deterioration if an individual were to go without treatment.

The legislation is supported by the Ohio Judicial Conference, the Ohio Association of Probate Judges, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio, the Ohio Psychological Association, the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center.

HB 439 now awaits further hearings in the House Civil Justice Committee.