Rep. Jay Rodne’s bill to maintain mental-health patient safety signed into law

A bill sponsored by Rep. Jay Rodne to maintain mental health inpatient safety was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee. House Bill 1599 allows the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to continue to transfer some violent inpatients who pose a serious threat to themselves or others to secure Department of Corrections’ (DOC) facilities. The provision authorizing DSHS to make these determinations was set to sunset next year.

“It’s important as we respond to our state’s mental health crisis and our lack of treatment beds that we ensure patients remain safe as they receive necessary treatment,” said Rodne, R-Snoqualmie. “While DSHS’s use of this authority is rare, separating civilly and criminally committed patients is critical to maintaining patient and staff safety. House Bill 1599 is another important step as Washington state seeks to fix our broken mental health system.”

DSHS has only used their granted authority once since 2010. This authority only applies to persons found not guilty by reason of insanity.

During the 2015 legislative session, the Legislature considered several bills concerning improvements to the state’s current mental health system, including an early-action supplemental budget which funds additional treatment beds. In addition to House Bill 1599, the governor signed Senate Bill 5269, or Joel’s Law, into law. Rodne co-sponsored the House version of the bill during session.

Bills go into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the 2015 regular session.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs Rep. Jay Rodne's House Bill 1599.

PHOTO CAPTION: Gov. Jay Inslee signs Rep. Jay Rodne’s House Bill 1599 into law.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
461 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
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Washington State House Republican Communications