Entries in Reform (2)


Mental Health Reform Push in Colorado After Shootings

World Economic Forum(DENVER) -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will ask the state general assembly on Tuesday for $18.5 million to help “redesign and strengthen” the state’s mental health services and support system.

The announcement comes just days after police say a gunman murdered his own mother, then killed six adults and 20 children at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school before committing suicide.  The shooter, Adam Lanza, has been described as deeply troubled.

A Hickenlooper aide, however, tells ABC News the Colorado reforms have been in the works ever since a mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater in July.  Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded when police say James Holmes opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes sought treatment from a psychiatrist while a graduate student at the University of Colorado, and his defense attorneys have said they believe their client is mentally ill.  Holmes has not yet entered a plea.

Hickenlooper’s plan would include changes to state law allowing the judicial system to instantly transmit mental health commitment records to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation so the information would be immediately available for firearm background checks. 

The plan would also establish a statewide mental health crisis hotline and would open five 24/7 walk-in mental health crisis centers.  Services for “seriously mentally ill” people would be expanded, including help with housing as patients transition from mental health hospitals back into the community.

Colorado most recently dealt with a mentally ill school shooter in February 2010, when Bruco Eastwood was accused of shooting and seriously wounding two students outside Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton.  A jury found Eastwood not guilty by reason of insanity of attempted first-degree murder and he was committed to a state mental hospital.

Deer Creek Middle School is a short drive from Columbine High School, where two students murdered a teacher and 12 other students in 1999 before killing themselves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


C-SPAN Asks Supreme Court to Televise Health Care Arguments

Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ruling on the health reform law is sure to be one of the most important Supreme Court cases of this generation, and the court has budgeted more than five hours for the arguments. When the court decides next year if the government can require every American to buy health insurance or pay a fee, they’ll make a decision that affects every citizen in the country.

But unless the court changes current policy, none but the few Americans able to score a ticket or stand in line will be able to watch the arguments.

C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb sent a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday asking him to permit the network to televise the health care oral arguments, which pit lawyers for 26 states against the federal government.

“We believe the public interest is best served by live television coverage of this particular oral argument,” Lamb says in the letter, and adds that the case “will affect every American’s life, our economy, and will certainly be an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign.”

No hearing at the Supreme Court has ever been televised. The arguments will be held at the end of March over 5 ½ hours. Lamb says the length of time “begs” for camera coverage. The chambers can seat up to 450, but that includes lawyers for both sides, the public and the press.

Each member of the Supreme Court was sent a copy of the letter.

C-SPAN made similar requests of lawmakers negotiating the health care reform law. While official congressional hearings were broadcast, many closed door negotiations were not.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio