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Relating to the authority of certain courts to employ attorneys as mental health public defenders and to the reimbursement of an attorney who represents an indigent proposed patient in certain mental health proceedings.
No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1293 would authorize a court with primary responsibility for mental illness proceedings for that county to employ attorneys as mental health public defenders to provide proposed patients with legal representation. This would apply only to a county with a population of 800,000 or more, and to proceedings under Chapter 574 of the Mental Health Code (Court-Ordered Mental Health Services). This bill would also require the court to appoint an attorney employed as a mental health public defender, a public defender, or a private attorney to represent a proposed patient in any proceeding under Chapter 574. Currently, most counties appoint private attorneys at an hourly rate to represent proposed patients in these cases.