HB 493: "An Act relating to involuntary commitment for alcoholism or drug abuse."
00HOUSE BILL NO. 493 01 "An Act relating to involuntary commitment for alcoholism or drug abuse." 02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 * Section 1. AS 47.37.190(a) is amended to read: 04 (a) After a hearing initiated by petition of a spouse or guardian, a relative, the 05 certifying physician, or the administrator in charge of an approved public treatment 06 facility, a person may be committed to the custody of a private or public facility by 07 the superior court. The petition must allege that the person is an alcoholic or drug 08 abuser who demonstrates increased tolerance to alcohol or drugs, who suffers 09 from symptoms of withdrawal when alcohol or drugs are not available, and whose 10 habitual lack of [HABITUALLY LACKS] self-control is causing significant hazard 11 to the person's health despite the adverse consequences of continued use [IN 12 USING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND THAT THE PERSON (1) HAS 13 THREATENED, ATTEMPTED TO INFLICT, OR INFLICTED PHYSICAL HARM 14 ON ANOTHER AND THAT UNLESS COMMITTED IS LIKELY TO INFLICT
01 PHYSICAL HARM ON ANOTHER; OR (2) IS INCAPACITATED BY ALCOHOL]. 02 A refusal to undergo treatment does not constitute evidence of lack of judgment as to 03 the need for treatment. The petition must be accompanied by a certificate of a 04 licensed physician who has examined the person within two days before submission 05 of the petition, unless the person whose commitment is sought has refused to submit 06 to a medical examination, in which case the fact of refusal must be alleged in the 07 petition. The certificate must set out the physician's findings in support of the 08 allegations of the petition. 09 * Sec. 2. AS 47.37.190(b) is amended to read: 10 (b) After the petition is filed, the court shall fix a date for a hearing no later 11 than 10 days after the date the petition was filed. A copy of the petition and of the 12 notice of the hearing, including the date fixed by the court, shall be served on (1) the 13 petitioner; (2) the person whose commitment is sought; (3) the next of kin of the 14 person whose commitment is sought; (4) the administrator in charge of the approved 15 public or private treatment facility in which the committed person has been committed 16 for emergency care; and (5) any other person the court considers appropriate. A copy 17 of the petition and certificate shall be delivered to each person notified. 18 * Sec. 3. AS 47.37.190(c) is repealed and reenacted to read: 19 (c) A person who is the subject of a petition filed under this section does not 20 have the right to a jury, except as provided under AS 47.37.200(e). 21 * Sec. 4. AS 47.37.200(a) is amended to read: 22 (a) At the hearing required under AS 47.37.190(b), the court [OR THE JURY, 23 IF REQUESTED UNDER AS 47.37.190(c),] shall hear all relevant testimony, 24 including, if possible, the testimony of at least one licensed physician who has 25 examined the person whose commitment is sought. The person whose commitment 26 is sought shall be present unless the court believes that being present is likely to be 27 injurious to the person, in which case the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to 28 represent the person throughout the proceeding. The court may examine the person 29 in open court, or, if advisable, examine the person out of court. If the person has 30 refused to be examined by a licensed physician, the person shall be given an 31 opportunity to request examination by a court-appointed licensed physician. If the
01 person fails to request a medical examination and there is sufficient evidence to believe 02 that the allegations of the petition are true, or, if the court believes that more medical 03 evidence is necessary, the court may issue a temporary order committing the person 04 to a private or public facility for a period of not more than five days for purposes of 05 a diagnostic examination. 06 * Sec. 5. AS 47.37.200(b) is amended to read: 07 (b) If after hearing all relevant evidence, including the results of any diagnostic 08 examination by the private or public facility, the court [OR THE JURY] finds that 09 grounds for involuntary commitment have been clearly established, the court shall 10 issue an order of commitment to the private or public facility. [A COURT MAY NOT 11 ORDER THE COMMITMENT OF A PERSON UNLESS IT DETERMINES THAT 12 A PRIVATE OR PUBLIC FACILITY IS ABLE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE AND 13 APPROPRIATE TREATMENT FOR THE PERSON.] 14 * Sec. 6. AS 47.37.200(c) is amended to read: 15 (c) A person committed under AS 47.37.190 - 47.37.200 shall remain in the 16 custody of a private or public facility for treatment for a period of up to 30 days. At 17 the end of the 30-day period, the person shall be discharged automatically unless the 18 director of an approved public facility or approved private facility [DIVISION], 19 before the expiration of the period, obtains a court order for recommitment upon the 20 grounds set out in AS 47.37.190(a) for a further period of up to 180  days. If the 21 condition that created the need for residential treatment still exists, the petitioner 22 [A PERSON HAS BEEN COMMITTED BECAUSE THE PERSON IS AN 23 ALCOHOLIC LIKELY TO INFLICT PHYSICAL HARM ON ANOTHER, THE 24 DIVISION] shall apply for recommitment [IF AFTER EXAMINATION IT IS 25 DETERMINED THAT THE LIKELIHOOD STILL EXISTS]. 26 * Sec. 7. AS 47.37.200(d) is amended to read: 27 (d) A person recommitted under (c) of this section who has not been 28 discharged by the private or public facility before the end of the 180-day [90-DAY] 29 period shall be discharged at the expiration of that period unless the director of the 30 approved public facility or approved private facility [DIVISION], before expiration 31 of the period, obtains a court order on the grounds set out in AS 47.37.190(a) for
01 recommitment for a further period not to exceed 180  days. If the need for 02 residential treatment still exists, the director of the approved public facility or 03 approved private facility [A PERSON HAS BEEN COMMITTED BECAUSE THE 04 PERSON IS AN ALCOHOLIC LIKELY TO INFLICT PHYSICAL HARM ON 05 ANOTHER, THE DIVISION] shall apply for recommitment [IF AFTER 06 EXAMINATION IT IS DETERMINED THAT THE LIKELIHOOD STILL EXISTS]. 07 No more than two recommitment orders may be permitted under (c) of this section and 08 this subsection. 09 * Sec. 8. AS 47.37.200(e) is amended to read: 10 (e) Upon the filing of a petition for recommitment under (c) or (d) of this 11 section, the court shall fix a date for hearing no later than 10 days after the date the 12 petition was filed. A copy of the petition and of the notice of hearing, including the 13 date fixed by the court, shall be served on (1) the petitioner; (2) the person whose 14 commitment is sought; (3) the next of kin of the person whose commitment is sought; 15 (4) the original petitioner under AS 47.37.190(a), if different from the petitioner for 16 recommitment; (5) any other person the court considers appropriate. AS 47.37.180(c) 17 applies to hearings for recommitment under this section. At the hearing the court or 18 the jury shall proceed as provided in (a) of this section. If, not less than two days 19 before the date set for a recommitment hearing under (c) or (d) of this section, 20 the person being recommitted or the person's counsel or advisor files a written 21 request with the court, the court shall summon and impanel a jury of six residents 22 of the judicial district to hear and consider evidence concerning the condition of 23 the person being recommitted. 24 * Sec. 9. AS 47.37.200(g) is amended to read: 25 (g) A person committed to the custody of an approved public facility or an 26 approved private facility [THE DIVISION FOR TREATMENT] shall be discharged 27 at any time before the end of the period for which the person has been committed if 28 either of the following conditions is met: 29 (1) [WHEN AN ALCOHOLIC COMMITTED ON THE GROUNDS 30 OF LIKELIHOOD OF INFLICTION OF PHYSICAL HARM ON ANOTHER IS NO 31 LONGER CONSIDERED AN ALCOHOLIC OR THE LIKELIHOOD OF THE
01 PERSON INFLICTING PHYSICAL HARM NO LONGER EXISTS; OR 02 (2) WHEN, IN THE CASE OF AN ALCOHOLIC COMMITTED ON 03 THE GROUNDS OF THE LIKELIHOOD OF INFLICTION OF PHYSICAL HARM 04 ON ANOTHER, EITHER 05 (A)] further treatment will not be likely to bring about 06 significant improvement in the person's condition; [,] or 07 (2) [(B)] treatment is no longer adequate or appropriate. 08 * Sec. 10. AS 47.37.200(h) is amended to read: 09 (h) The court shall inform the person whose commitment or recommitment is 10 sought of the right to contest the application, be represented by counsel at every stage 11 of the proceedings relating to commitment and recommitment, and to have counsel 12 appointed by the court or provided by the court [,] if the person is unable to obtain 13 counsel [, AND TO A JURY TRIAL, IF REQUESTED, AS SPECIFIED IN 14 AS 47.37.190(c)]. If the court believes that the person needs the assistance of counsel, 15 the court shall require counsel, by appointment if necessary, regardless of the person's 16 objection. The person whose commitment or recommitment is sought shall be 17 informed of the right to be examined by a licensed physician of the person's choice. 18 If the person is unable to obtain a licensed physician and requests examination by a 19 physician, the court shall employ a licensed physician for the examination. 20 * Sec. 11. AS 47.37.270(1) is amended to read: 21 (1) "alcoholic or drug abuser" means a person who demonstrates 22 increased tolerance to alcohol or drugs, who suffers from withdrawal when 23 alcohol or drugs are not available, whose habitual lack of self-control causes 24 significant hazard to the person's health, and who continues to use alcohol or 25 drugs despite the adverse consequences [HABITUALLY LACKS SELF-CONTROL 26 IN USING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, OR USES ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES TO 27 THE EXTENT THAT THE PERSON'S HEALTH IS SUBSTANTIALLY IMPAIRED 28 OR ENDANGERED, OR THE PERSON'S SOCIAL OR ECONOMIC FUNCTION 29 IS SUBSTANTIALLY DISRUPTED]; 30 * Sec. 12. AS 47.37.270(10) is amended to read: 31 (10) "incapacitated by alcohol" means a person who is unconscious or
01 whose judgment is otherwise so impaired that the person is incapable of realizing and 02 making a rational decision with respect to a need for treatment [, AS EVIDENCED 03 OBJECTIVELY BY EXTREME PHYSICAL DEBILITATION, PHYSICAL HARM 04 OR THREATS OF HARM TO OTHERS OR CHRONIC INABILITY TO HOLD 05 REGULAR EMPLOYMENT]; 06 * Sec. 13. AS 47.37.270(13) is amended to read: 07 (13) "intoxicated person" means a person whose mental or physical 08 functioning is substantially impaired as a result of the use of alcohol or drugs; 09 * Sec. 14. AS 47.37.270(14) is amended to read: 10 (14) "treatment" means the broad range of emergency, outpatient, 11 intermediate, and inpatient services and care that may be extended to alcoholics, 12 [AND] intoxicated persons, or drug abusers, including diagnostic evaluation, medical, 13 psychiatric, psychological, and social service care, vocational rehabilitation and career 14 counseling;