Subcommittee postpones vote on mental health bills

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Senate subcommittee is putting off a vote on Sen. Creigh Deeds' proposed changes to how long the state can detain the mentally ill.

At a subcommittee hearing Thursday at the Capitol, Deeds said his proposal could save lives.

Deeds' son was released last November from an emergency custody order after the local community services board said it was unable to locate an available psychiatric bed in the area within the six hours allotted by law. Shortly afterwards, Gus Deeds stabbed his father and then committed suicide.

Sen. Deeds wants to extend the six-hour period to 24 hours.

But representatives from law enforcement agencies and the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concerns about Deeds' bill.

The subcommittee could take up the bill again next week.

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