Here is an update on the most recent activity of the three Legislative Council study committees on which the SPD has members. The week before Thanksgiving, all three committees met to review 24 either brand new or revised bill drafts which were released at the end of the week before.
Special Committee on the Supervised Release and Discharge of Sexually Violent PersonsWLC: 0032/1, relating supervised release and discharge proceedings.
The most significant draft, 0032/1, contained several provisions that were addressed at the hearing.
Included in the draft was “would likely” language that would limit trials for discharge petitions by requiring a judge to first find that the case “would likely” result in a granting of discharge by a jury. The SPD offered alternative language that would require the petition be “legally sufficient” but that language was not adopted.
The SPD also tried to delete a provision that provides a delayed release date of up to 15 days upon granting of discharge. The committee agreed to lower the limit to 10 days.
Special Committee on Legal Interventions for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
- WLC: 0015/2, relating to involuntary administration of psychotropic medication as a protective service to a person with dementia.
- WLC: 0017/4, relating to inpatient psychiatric treatment for individuals with dementia.
- WLC: 0018/3, relating to authorization of an agent under a power of attorney for health care to make certain decisions related to care and treatment of dementia.
One of the most significant sticking points was in 0017/4 which provides for the ability to treat a person in a Ch. 55 protective placement in an inpatient facility. How to handle co-occurring disorders such as dementia and delirium was the heart of the Helen E.F. Supreme Court decision. Previously, someone in a nursing home type setting who was there under a Ch. 55 order was likely to be sent to an inpatient facility using a Ch. 51 mental health commitment, which is usually an inappropriate treatment setting. In the original draft of 0017, three lines were inserted that would have placed what treatment providers considered severe restrictions on placement of a Ch. 55 patient within an inpatient facility. Individual committee members were tasked with drafting their own suggested language. With a one word change, the SPD suggestion was adopted by the committee.
The drafts continue to be refined with significant amounts of work yet to be done.
Special Committee on Permanency for Young Children in the Child Welfare System
- WLC: 0008/2, relating to sibling visitation.
- WLC: 0009/2, relating to CHIPS jurisdiction over a newborn.
- WLC: 0010/2, relating to right to counsel for parents in CHIPS proceedings.
- WLC: 0011/2, relating to physical, psychological, mental, or developmental examination and AODA assessment of a parent.
- WLC: 0012/2, relating to TPR ground of continuing CHIPS.
- WLC: 0013/2, relating to when no reasonable efforts are required.
- WLC: 0021/1, relating to posttermination agreement.
- WLC: 0022/1, relating to standards for parental participation.
- WLC: 0026/1, relating to eliminating right to jury trial in CHIPS and TPR.
- WLC: 0027/1, relating to adoption home investigations and confidentiality of change in placement and adoptive parent information.
- WLC: 0028/1, relating to TPR participation by alleged father.
- WLC: 0030/1, relating to CHIPS jurisdiction over a child born with alcohol or controlled substances.
- WLC: 0031/1, relating to expedited appellate procedures for ch. 48 cases.
- WLC: 0033/1, relating to TPR challenge based on ineffective assistance of counsel.
- WLC: 0038/1, relating to placement with relatives.
- WLC: 0040/1, relating to recognizing tribal customary adoption and suspension of parental rights.
- WLC: 0041/P1, relating to adoption petitions filed by counties.
Here is as brief a summary as possible on the most significant pieces of legislation:
- 0010/2 reauthorizes representation by the SPD of adults in CHIPS cases. Two minor changes have been proposed: authorize the representation of minor parents and require that SPD representation start at the Temporary Physical Custody hearing.
- 0022/1 essentially creates a waiver of counsel in TPR cases in which the client does not appear for hearings. This draft may be put on hold pending other work outside the committee.
- 0026/1 eliminates jury trials for CHIPS and TPR cases. This was the one proposal the committee did not address.
- 0033/1 – ineffective assistance of counsel for a TPR appeal. This was withdrawn from the committee’s consideration by the member who suggested it.
Thank you to Tony Rios, Tom Reed, Mark Gumz, Larry Peterson, Dennis Purtell, Blanche Kushner, Devon Lee, Diane Rondini-Harness and Katie Holtz for the countless hours they’ve spent on these issues so far!