Emergency custody orders, temporary detention orders, and involuntary commitment; criteria. (HB559)

Introduced By

Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) with support from 20 copatrons, whose average partisan position is:

Those copatrons are Del. Dave Albo (R-Springfield), Del. Anne Crockett-Stark (R-Wytheville), Del. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg), Del. Bill Janis (R-Glen Allen), Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City), Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave), Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge), Del. Danny Marshall (R-Danville), Del. Don Merricks (R-Danville), Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas), Del. Sam Nixon (R-Richmond), Del. Dave Nutter (R-Christiansburg), Del. John O'Bannon (R-Richmond), Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg), Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Glade Hill), Del. Bob Purkey (R-Virginia Beach), Del. Tom Rust (R-Herndon), Del. Chris Saxman (R-Staunton), Del. Beverly Sherwood (R-Winchester)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


ECO, TDO, involuntary commitment; criteria. Changes the criteria for emergency custody orders, temporary detention orders, juveniles and involuntary commitment, including how that criteria is applied to prisoners and juveniles, so that a person may be taken into custody, temporarily detained, or involuntarily committed if the person is mentally ill and there exists a substantial likelihood that the person will, in the near future, cause serious physical harm to himself or others as evidenced by recent behavior causing, attempting, or threatening such harm or has been proven to be so seriously mentally ill as to be unable to care for himself. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/07/2008Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 081455432
01/07/2008Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/10/2008Assigned Courts sub: Mental Health
01/22/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB559)
01/25/2008Reported from Courts of Justice (22-Y 0-N)
01/25/2008Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/25/2008Referred to Committee on Appropriations
01/28/2008Committee substitute printed 081465432-H1
01/29/2008Assigned App. sub: Health & Human Resources (Hamilton)
02/08/2008Reported from Appropriations (24-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2008Read first time
02/11/2008Read second time
02/11/2008Committee substitute agreed to 081465432-H1
02/11/2008Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB559H1
02/12/2008Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
02/12/2008VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2008Communicated to Senate
02/13/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
02/13/2008Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/14/2008Assigned Courts sub: Special on Proposed Mental Health Legislation
02/15/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB559H1)
02/28/2008Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (15-Y 0-N)
02/29/2008Committee substitute printed 089602248-S1
03/03/2008Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N)
03/04/2008Read third time
03/04/2008Committee substitute rejected 089602248-S1
03/04/2008Floor substitute printed 089660432-S2 (Cuccinelli)
03/04/2008Passed by temporarily
03/04/2008Reading of substitute waived
03/04/2008Substitute by Senator Cuccinelli agreed to 089660432-S2
03/04/2008Engrossed by Senate - floor substitute HB559S2
03/04/2008Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N)
03/05/2008Placed on Calendar
03/05/2008Senate substitute agreed to by House 089660432-S2 (99-Y 0-N)
03/05/2008VOTE: --- ADOPTION (99-Y 0-N)
03/07/2008Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB559ER)
03/07/2008Signed by Speaker
03/09/2008Signed by President
03/11/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB559ER)
04/02/2008G Approved by Governor-Chapter 779 (effective 7/1/08)


Alison Hymes writes:

There are no voluntary beds left in the state hospital system and on many days of the year under the existing criteria there are no community or private hospital psychiatric beds in the entire state either. Where are the additional committed citizens going to go and how will anyone ever enter a psych. unit voluntarily if this bill is passed?

R P McMurphy writes:

I strongly oppose this bill. The standard for involuntary commitment should be stringent. The standard for involuntary commitment should be based upon "present reality", and not on "supposed potential". And by the way, the current standard is not as stringent as the proponents of this bill would like one to believe.

Involuntary commitment is indeed a gross violation of one’s basic civil and human rights. As such, there must be gross justification for this gross infringement. This demands “stringent thresholds”. The nanny state mindset of "Better safe than sorry." is unconscionable and must be replaced with "beyond all reasonable doubt". Indeed, I am appalled at the nonchalant and cavalier attitude toward locking people up that is typically displayed by the employees of the state mental health system.

It is particularly reprehensible that the evaluation of this standard is based entirely upon the opinions of practitioners of an entirely subjective and ambiguous pseudoscience whose inherently high potential for misdiagnosis's is not even given lip service by these practitioners. Psychiatry has no objective verifiable or repeatable "standards". "Diagnosis's" are completely dependent upon subjective and open to interpretation clinical interviews. In a forced setting, these "clinical interviews" are obviously in a stressful and adversarial setting. This is hardly what one would call a productive doctor - patient relationship, especially for a so called profession supposedly built upon listening and trust building. Yet this potential for misdiagnosis and misunderstanding is absolutely missing from these psychiatrist's train of thoughts. People "diagnosed" with mental illness are automatically and infallibly assumed to have the said mental illness. I charge the power the state gives to these people only reinforces their overbearing Chicken Little mentalities.

Hard to believe this is really America. Hard to believe this state was a birthplace for liberty and individual rights. How dare this regression be called reform.