Georgia’s mental health bill faces sudden and vocal opposition

A bill to improve access to mental health treatment in Georgia that appeared to be crossing the state Legislature is now facing stiff opposition, with some critics saying it would protect pedophiles and threaten child rights. second amendment.

State lawmakers backing the bill called some of the criticism bizarre.

HB 1013 aims to ensure that insurers provide the same level of benefits for mental health conditions as for physical illnesses. It would also make it easier to take someone into care without their consent and provide forgivable loans to people who become mental health workers.

It passed the State House earlier this month with nearly unanimous support. But opponents have since flooded state Senate meetings, some of them rallied by the anti-abortion group Georgia Right to Life and a second group, Truth in Education, which has raised concerns about the critical theory of race and obscene material in schools, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Jeanne Seaver, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said in a press release Thursday that the bill would classify child molestation as a mental illness and not a crime. Other opponents said it would lead to “red flag laws” that would give judges the power to declare people a threat and strip them of their weapons.

State lawmakers say none of this is true.

The “mass attack” stems from a “very small internet activation,” State House Decatur Democrat Mary Margaret Oliver told the AJC. Oliver is co-sponsor of the bill.

Republican House Speaker David Ralston, who is also sponsoring the bill, said some of the objections were “well intentioned”.

“Then there are the others for whom their concerns are factless, they are outrageous, they are ridiculous,” he told the newspaper.

To become law, the bill still needs to be approved by the state senate and signed by the governor. Ralston said he was still optimistic it would pass.

“I don’t see much impact that this opposition has,” he said.

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