Signed into law in 2002, Laura’s Law was adopted by the state Legislature after a man with mental illness fatally shot Laura Wilcox, a 19-year-old volunteer at a Nevada County mental health clinic. The legislation allows each county in the state to decide whether to adopt the provision. To qualify for Laura’s Law, an individual must have a serious mental illness that resulted in a psychiatric hospitalization or incarceration twice in the previous three years or resulted in violent behavior within the past 48 months. While outpatient treatment can be ordered, medication cannot. Laura’s Law is designed specifically to help individuals with mental illness who suffer from a condition known as “anosognosia,” a complete lack of awareness of their mental illness.
The law is only operative in those counties in which the county board of supervisors, by resolution, authorizes its application and makes a finding that no voluntary mental health program serving adults, and no children's mental health program, was reduced in order to implement the law.
Counties who have approved implementation of Laura's Law:
Contra Costa County
Los Angeles County
San Diego County
San Mateo County
the City and County of San Francisco
San Luis Obispo County