Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes SB 1356 (Lowenthal) Suicide Prevention Act, Instead Directs Two State Agencies To Coordinate Development Of Statewide Strategic Plan On Suicide Prevention
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(Sept. 29, 2006) -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed SB 1356 by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D, LB-SP-PV) that would have put a statutory mandate on the CA Dept. of Mental Health to adopt and distribute a statewide strategic plan for suicide prevention, incorporating to the extent appropriate and feasible the strategic plan developed by the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network-California (which sponsored the bill).
Gov. Schwarzenegger said in his veto message that while he agrees "with the goal of SB 1356 to provide a plan to better coordinate state and local suicide prevention efforts," he believes the bill's goals "can best be addressed administratively." Accordingly, he's "directing the Department and the Health and Human Services Agency to build on the work done by the California Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network and coordinate with all interested constituency groups and state and local agencies in the development of a statewide strategic plan on suicide prevention no later than May 1, 2008."
SB 1356 would have required, by May 1, 2008, the State Department of Mental Health, in consultation with specified state departments, to adopt and distribute a statewide strategic suicide prevention plan that incorporates, to the extent appropriate and feasible, the strategic plan developed by the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network-California and guidelines to counties and local mental health departments to consider for Proposition 63 funding.
In addition to support from the Suicide Prevention Network-California, the bill was backed by the California Catholic Conference, California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies, California Mental Health Directors Association, Flags Help Red, Mental Health Association of California and Scripps Mercy Hospital, Trauma Division.
Governor Schwarzenegger's veto message follows verbatim:
I am returning Senate Bill 1356 without my signature.
Suicide prevention is an important and serious issue that is appropriately an area of focus
of the Mental Health Services Act and the Department of Mental Health's work.
Specifically, the Act sets forth reducing suicides as a goal of state and local early
intervention programs funded by the Act, and makes significant resources available for
prevention and early intervention activities, including initiatives to address suicide
prevention. In addition, my 2005-06 and 2006-07 budgets provided funding for the
Department of Mental Health to undertake suicide prevention activities and provide
support for local suicide prevention efforts.
I agree with the goal of SB 1356 to provide a plan to better coordinate state and local
suicide prevention efforts. Given the requirements of the Act and the efforts already
underway, the goals of this bill can best be addressed administratively, and do not require
a statutory mandate. Therefore, I am directing the Department and the Health and
Human Services Agency to build on the work done by the California Suicide Prevention
Advocacy Network and coordinate with all interested constituency groups and state and
local agencies in the development of a statewide strategic plan on suicide prevention no
later than May 1, 2008.
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