California State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian | District 35
10/11/2011 | Press Release

Assemblyman Achadjian Applauds Governor's Signing of Important State Hospital Safety Measure

Craig Swaim (916) 319-2033

SACRAMENTO - Today, Assemblyman Achadjian (R - San Luis Obispo) commended Governor Brown's signing of AB 366 which will provide safer conditions for staff and patients in California state hospitals.  The bill, which Assemblyman Achadjian joint authored with Assemblyman Allen (D - Santa Rosa), improves the current involuntary medication process by establishing procedures under which patients deemed incompetent to stand trial (IST) and who have demonstrated that they are at risk to other patients and staff can be involuntarily medicated.

"By signing this important measure Governor Brown has given the men and women who work at our state hospitals an important tool that will better protect them against these dangerous offenders," remarked Achadjian upon hearing of the Governor's action.  "As a legislator, member of the Assembly Select Committee on Hospital Safety and former county supervisor representing San Luis Obispo County, which is home to Atascadero State Hospital, I know far too well the dangers that our state hospital staff must face on a daily basis, including brutal attacks on patients and staff, as well as the most recent death of an employee at Napa State Hospital. Too often these attacks could have been prevented had the state provided state hospital workers with the tools necessary to do their jobs safely."

Under existing law, if a patient consents to medication at their original court hearing, but subsequently withdraws consent upon entering the state hospital, a new court hearing is required. As a result, while awaiting a hearing, which can often take several months, the offender goes untreated and can often pose a larger risk to other patients and hospital staff.

Assembly Bill 366 will give the courts the ability to ensure that a dangerous offender does not go untreated by allowing the courts to make involuntary medication determinations during the initial trial at which the defendant is committed to the state hospital and to determine whether a defendant lacks the capacity to make decisions regarding antipsychotic medication. 

"I am pleased that the Legislature and Governor have come together in a bipartisan manner to address the critical safety issues facing our state hospital workers," continued Achadjian. "While I believe AB 366 is a step in the right direction, it is not a full solution. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and state hospital workers to find additional ways to improve safety inside these facilities."

Assembly Bill 366 will take effect on January 1, 2012.  For complete text of the bill please visit: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov

Assemblyman Achadjian proudly represents all of San Luis Obispo County and part of Santa Barbara County, including the cities of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Paso Robles, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and surrounding communities.