(TRENTON) – Assemblyman John F. McKeon, the prime sponsor of legislation (A-1618) signed into law last session that would allow for involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment for certain individuals with mental illness, issued the following statement on the Democratic budget alternative’s $8 million in funding to finally implement the program:
“For nearly two years, Governor Christie has refused to provide funding to implement a law that would provide the necessary tools to ensure the safety of severely mentally ill patients and the public.
“In the rare instances when it is required, involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment becomes the only tool available to families caring for the severely mentally ill that will enable them to help the sick individual to get the help he or she needs.
“As I have repeatedly said, the governor and the Executive Branch do not have the ability to selectively pick and choose which laws they implement. Yet, for nearly two years, the governor chose not to provide funding necessary to put this law into practice.
“Fortunately, Democrats have more compassion for the ill and more respect for the laws of the land. That’s why we’ve carved out $8 million in funding to ensure that this program is finally put into place.
“The severely mentally ill and their families should not be made to needlessly suffer while we quibble over budget dollars and cents.”