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Tuesday's Letters to the Editor

<b>Laura's Law update</b>

EDITOR: Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 585. This legislation clarifies that Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) funds may be used to fund Laura's Law, an assisted-outpatient treatment program that mandates court-ordered treatment for some individuals who are severely impaired by their mental illness. There are numerous restrictions to this law, i.e. there must be a "clinical determination that the person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision."

A study led by Duke University, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, highlighted the success of Kendra's Law in New York. Like Kendra's Law, Laura's Law mandates not only that the patient accept treatment, it requires the mental health system to provide it.

Do we need Laura's Law? We know that every community has had heartbreaking instances of violence and death. Many of these have included individuals who have suffered from mental illness. If the public knew there was a robust treatment system available, and that system held the ill individual and the mental health system both accountable, maybe more mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters would seek help.

We can use Mental Health Services Act money to help fund Laura's Law and the services that support it.

MARK JAQUA

Sebastopol

<b>A pledge for our times</b>

EDITOR: From 1954 to present, the following has been considered the official Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

For your convenience, I offer a new, more realistic and updated Pledge of Allegiance: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation OMG, infinitely divisible, with liberty and justice for some."


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