COLUMBUS—The Association of Ohio Health Commissioners today provided proponent testimony in support of House Bill 338, State Representative Dave Greenspan’s (R-Westlake) legislation which creates a due process protocol to address mental health and deadly weapons. Franklin County Public Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola, who also serves as the Association’s President-elect, submitted a statement on their behalf.
House Bill 338, also known as the Mental Health Awareness and Community Violence Protection Act, received its second hearing in the House Health Committee. According to the statement offered by the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners, the bill’s provisions provide a way to “release a pressure valve and intervene in a crisis, or better yet before a crisis hits,” adding that “it will be worth our while to explore all legal means to do so.”
House Bill 338 clearly outlines a multi-step, due process protocol that may involve law enforcement, a preliminary mental evaluation by a mental health professional, an extensive mental health evaluation, and an appearance before a probate judge if it is determined at each step in the process that an individual may present a threat to themselves or to others. The bill provides a combination of four levels of interviews, evaluations and legal processes – including representation before a judge with an attorney present – before a determination is made as to the subject of deadly weapons.
“This bill is a responsible and responsive approach to address the issue of mental illness and deadly weapons and respects the individual due process protections,” said Representative Greenspan. “I am grateful to see the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners come out in support of it.”
House Bill 338 now awaits its next committee hearing. The text of the legislation and a PowerPoint outlining its provisions may be found through the below link.