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Sheena and Chris Henderson Law, other mental health bills, pass House

by caprecord
Sheena Henderson (Photo via the Sheena Henderson Memorial Page via Facebook.)
Sheena Henderson (Photo via the Sheena Henderson Memorial Page via Facebook.)

The House passed six mental health bills off the floor Monday, including the Sheena and Chris Henderson Law.

HB 1448 would allow officers responding to a threat of suicide to refer the person to a designated mental health professional. That mental health professional can determine whether the person needs more intensive intervention, including involuntary commitment.

The law is named after Sheena and Chris Henderson, a Spokane couple who died after Chris Henderson shot and killed his estranged wife, Sheena, at her place of work, and then turned the gun on himself.

Chris Henderson had been making suicidal threats before the incident, which his family and friends had reported to law enforcement. However, his family says Chris Henderson was evaluated for a total of three hours before he was released, and his family reported that they were left with few options to make him get treatment.

Unbeknownst to his family, the day before the shooting, Chris Henderson retrieved his gun that had been confiscated by law enforcement. Another bill would establish a policy to inform families when confiscated guns are retrieved is also being considered by lawmakers.

The Sheena and Chris Henderson Law passed 93 to 5.

Another bill that was passed out of the House Monday, SB 5889, has already passed out of the Senate, and will head to the governor for a signature, according to the Associated Press.

SB 5889 would establish a 14-day maximum stay in jail while a defendant awaits the determination of competency to stand trial. The state faces a federal court case related to people being housed in jail for long periods of time while awaiting a determination of competency. The bill passed 84-14.

Other mental bills that were passed off the floor were:

HB 1599 – Concerning secure facilities for the criminally insane, passed 96-2.

HB 1536 – Addressing the timing of emergency detentions and assessments under the involuntary treatment act, passed 97-1.

HB 1450 – Concerning involuntary outpatient mental health treatment, passed 90-8.

HB 1713  – Integrating the treatment systems for mental health and chemical dependency, passed 63-35.

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