RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The General Assembly adjourned on Saturday after having passed a series of measures aimed at improving the state’s treatment of the mentally ill, prompted by an assault on Sen. R. Creigh Deeds by his son. The Bath County Democrat was attacked in November by Gus Deeds after the younger Deeds was released from an emergency custody order hours earlier. A local community services board said it was unable to locate an available psychiatric bed in the area within the six hours allotted by law. After attacking his father, Gus Deeds committed suicide.
Under the bills passed by lawmakers, the time allotted for finding a bed was extended to 12 hours. And after eight hours of searching, if no private beds can be found, a state hospital will now be required to admit those under an emergency custody order.
Deeds said the measures will save lives and mark strong first steps in addressing shortcomings in the state’s mental health efforts.
“I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot but we have so much more to do,” Deeds said.
The General Assembly also voted to repeal a law forbidding hunting on Sunday, which had previously been deemed a day of rest for wild animals.