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Hawaii: Deeply Flawed Mental Health Bill to be Heard Friday

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Senate Bill 932 is scheduled to be heard THIS FRIDAY at 1:35 p.m. in conference room 229 of the State Capitol by the Senate Health (HTH) and Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs (PSM) committees.

SB 932, introduced by state Senators Josh Green (D-3), Suzanne Chun Oakland (D-13), Clarence Nishihara (D-17), Russell Ruderman (D-2), and Maile Shimabukuro (D-21) is a terribly flawed mental health bill that must be defeated. Under this proposed legislation, Hawaiians would be subject to warrantless entry into their homes, warrantless seizure of their firearms and other weapons based solely on a mere “report” by a so-called “mental health professional.”  This bill is blatantly unconstitutional as it mandates no before-the-fact due process or corroboration.

For more than four and a half decades, the National Rifle Association has been urging the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence. More recently, the NRA has supported legislation, including the NICS Improvement Act (NIAA), to ensure that appropriate records of those who have been judged mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to mental institutions be made available for use in firearms transfer background checks.  The NRA supports reasonable steps to fix America’s broken mental health system without intruding on the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.

One of the most frightening aspects of SB 932 is its definition of a “mental health professional.” The bill defines them as: “a psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, social worker, or counselor.” This means that a family doctor, who has no specialized mental health training, could file a report to a law enforcement agency which would result in the confiscation of an individual’s firearms. Furthermore, the “mental health professionals” who would be afforded the power to take away a constitution right, would be exempt from all civil or criminal liability, and only subject to a misdemeanor for false reporting.

It is imperative that you contact the members of the HTH and PSM committees TODAY and respectfully express your opposition to this deeply disturbing bill.  Also, demand that these legislators tell you what Hawaii is doing to comply with the NIAA.

The committee members’ contact information is provided for you below – please note, some Senators serve on both committees.

Senate Committee on Health

Senator Josh Green (D-3), Chair

(808) 586-9385

sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Rosalyn Baker (D-6), Vice Chair

(808) 586-6070

senbaker@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland (D-13)

(808) 586-6130

senchunoakland@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Clarence Nishihara (D-17)

(808) 586-6970

sennishihara@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Sam Slom (R-9)

(808) 586-8420

senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs:

 

Senator Will Espero (D-19), Chair

(808) 586-6360

senespero@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Rosalyn Baker (D-6), Vice Chair

(808) 586-6070

senbaker@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Brickwood Galuteria (D-12)

(808) 586-6740

sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Josh Green (D-3)

(808) 586-9385

sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Senator Sam Slom (R-9)

(808) 586-8420

senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov

 

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