Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A monumental victory in Illinois

Yesterday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 234 into law. The measure – the culmination of a five-year effort – is a dramatic change to the Illinois commitment standard for both inpatient and outpatient assisted treatment.

When SB 234 takes effect next June, the short and simple-appearing legislation will be the greatest reform to Illinois commitment law in decades.

We cannot more commend the capability and compassion of Senator and chief bill sponsor Dale Righter, who doggedly pursued the measure over five years and three legislative sessions, and Representative David Leitch, who successfully guided SB 234 through the Illinois House.

NAMI–Illinois stood steadfastly behind this monumental reform each and every step along its path to becoming law.

But most of all – this monumental victory is a tribute to those who wrote, called, testified, and fought for SB 234 and treatment. A group of determined advocates decided to change a law that mandated non-treatment for many of those in their state lost to severe mental illnesses – and they did.

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