Joel’s Law, which enables families to petition courts to review a designated mental health professional’s decision not to detain a person with mental illness, is headed to the governor’s desk after passing both chambers earlier this week.
Joel Reuter, who died in a shootout with Seattle police in 2013. Reuter had been treating bipolar disorder successfully for several years, but made a turn for the worse after starting chemotherapy for lymphoma. He died after exchanging gunfire with police officers.
His parents, Doug and Nancy Reuter, have been coming to Olympia from Texas for the past two sessions to lobby the Washington State Legislature last year to pass the law. Lawmakers in both parties pledged to get the law passed this session.
The Senate version of the bill sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, passed both chambers this week.
“This gives families a voice when it comes to ensuring their loved ones are given the care they need when suffering from a mental health crisis,” said Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, D-Seattle, the sponsor of the House version of the bill. Walkinshaw represents the district where Joel Reuter lived.
Joel’s law is not yet on Gov. Jay Inslee‘s bill signing calendar.