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(TRENTON) – Assembly Human Services Chairwoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) released the following statement Thursday after the committee held a hearing on the Christie administration’s decision to delay implementing a law to allow for involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment for some individuals struggling with mental illness:

“As we heard today, this law isn’t simply about dollars and cents.
“It’s about saving lives.
“It’s an issue of importance to each and every New Jerseyan, and I am very sorry that families who have been directly hurt by untreated mental illness continue to have to relive their tragedies because this law is being ignored.
“All of us are very sensitive to the fiscal situation in New Jersey, but the bottom line is it’s the administration’s job to properly budget and comply with the law. It’s also apparent that ignoring this law will prove even more costly to taxpayers. That’s irresponsible.
“Disregarding the law is unacceptable in any situation, but it’s especially appalling when doing so threatens public safety and the health of those struggling with mental illness. Our worst fear is that more lives will be destroyed as this law is ignored.
“I plan to continue this dialogue and consider our options as we work towards finding out how and when this law can be implemented. Hopefully, for everyone’s well-being, that will happen soon.”