June 14, 2017

Assembly Passes Legislation to Extend Kendra's Law

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the Assembly has passed legislation to extend Kendra's Law, which allows New York courts to order assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), through June 30, 2022 (A.7688, Gunther). The law is currently set to expire on June 30, 2017.

In 1999, New York enacted legislation that allows courts to order outpatient treatment for individuals who have been determined to be a potential threat of harm to themselves or others. The law establishes a procedure for obtaining such court orders.

Better known as "Kendra's Law," the legislation was passed and named after Kendra Webdale, a young woman who died tragically after being pushed in front of a New York City subway train by a man with serious mental illness who had fallen out of care.

"The Assembly Majority is aware of the importance of this legislation, as well as the importance of ensuring New Yorkers receive access to the mental health services they need," said Heastie. "We also recognize that extending the legislation not only allows us, but compels us to reevaluate the program every few years to look for opportunities for improvement."

"By extending Kendra's Law for an additional five years, we are ensuring that people who are critically in need of mental health services receive those services," said Chair of the Mental Health Committee Aileen Gunther. "It is important we remember that people with a severe mental illness are ten times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than those without one. Stigmatization of mental illness continues to be an impediment for individuals who may want to seek treatment, and we must continue to fight that stigma."