By Karen de Sá kdesa
With less than a week left before the end of the legislative session, intensive lobbying by physicians groups and cost concerns have undermined progress on the centerpiece of a bill package designed to end the excessive use of psychotropic drugs on California's foster youth.
"SB 253 is really key -- it's the linchpin of this whole package because the courts are the gatekeepers, and if the gatekeepers are not doing their job, everything else is not going to come together to solve the problem," said Bill Grimm, senior attorney with the National Center for Youth Law, a major backer of the bills. "The opposition that's been mounted by the medical community is unconscionable."
Monning's bill is supported by the state's Judicial Council, but opposition has been building: On Wednesday, the California Medical Association, the California Psychiatric Association, the California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, representing residential group homes, released a surprising last-minute "Assembly floor alert" calling for a no vote.
According to filings with the California Secretary of State, the groups opposing the bill have spent more than $1.4 million between Jan. 1 and June 30 lobbying the Legislature, an amount equal to more than $11,000 per business day. The alliance representing residential facilities alone spent more than $325,000. (Continue Reading)
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California Assembly to vote on diminished bill package to curb psychotropic drug use on foster children