OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KOKH) — A bill aiming to increase mental health treatment in jails across Oklahoma was vetoed by the Governor.
Now, advocates and the bill’s author are speaking out on what they call ‘critical’ reform getting shut down. The goal of SB552 is to help restore competency to those in jail so they can stand trial.Senator John Haste, (R)- Broken Arrow, said it was a request bill from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, who worked together on the concept with the Sheriff’s Association and DA’s Council.
In his veto message, Governor Stitt said the bill has good intentions, but he doesn’t agree with the solutions.
“To say I was surprised on Friday when SB552 was vetoed is saying it very mildly. I totally expected it to be passed,” Sen. Haste said.
Working down to the last seconds of the regular session, Sen. Haste thought his bill that unanimously passed the House of Representatives and only had one no vote in the Senate was a win-win for all parties involved.
Together with the DA’s council, Sheriff’s Association and ODMHSAS, he was trying to assist those who aren’t yet competent to stand trial.
“Number one, we don’t want people staying in jail longer than what their sentence would have been to begin with. So this was to address some of that,” Sen. Haste said.