Why is Hawaii’s emergency guardiansing law a problem
A bill to legalize and regulate guardianship in Hawaii passed the state Senate and awaits Gov.
David Ige’s signature.
In the past two years, the state has passed an ordinance that allows people with serious medical conditions to appoint financial guardians to manage their own affairs.
But a Hawaii bill that was recently approved by the state House would let people with mental illness appoint guardians to supervise them, even if the person has no criminal history or has a psychiatric diagnosis.
If enacted, the bill would be the first statewide law that would allow for guardianship by the mentally ill.
“This is the biggest step in establishing a state-sanctioned mental health system,” said Sen. Scott Neufeld, a Democrat from Honolulu who introduced the bill.
“If you think about it, this is an attempt to protect vulnerable people.”
The measure, which has already passed the House and Senate, would make it legal for a person to appoint a guardian, or designate someone to oversee them, to financially manage the finances of someone with a serious mental illness.
The state’s Department of Health and Human Services oversees guardianship issues, and oversees the mental health community.
It is not required to do so, but its guidelines call for people with a mental illness to be financially accountable to the state.
The bill would also allow a guardian to appoint an administrator, a person who will have financial responsibility for someone’s finances, if the guardian has a medical condition that would make him or her unable to make good decisions for the person.
The bill, which was approved by both chambers on a party-line vote, would also require a guardian or administrator to take care of the guardian’s children and grandchildren, if a guardian has an active medical condition.
Under current law, a guardian can appoint someone to supervises someone if they have a serious psychiatric diagnosis or a psychiatric condition that makes them unable to handle the financial responsibility of the person, such as a schizophrenia diagnosis or bipolar disorder.
The bill would allow a person with a severe mental illness, who has been institutionalized for a period of time, to appoint someone with mental health disabilities to oversee someone’s financial affairs, unless the person is not physically able to manage that person’s finances.
In the meantime, the person would have to live with the guardian and supervise the financial affairs of the guardians.
It would not be up to the guardian to determine whether or not to take the guardian into custody.
The law has the support of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which filed a brief with the state Legislature opposing the measure.
The Alliance is also suing to overturn the bill, arguing it violates the rights of mentally ill people who cannot take control of their own financial affairs.
It also argues that it will lead to increased abuse and neglect in guardianship orders.
The Hawaii bill has drawn bipartisan support.
House Speaker Mark Hill, a Republican from Honolulu, said he supports the bill because it will protect vulnerable citizens.
“We’re protecting our seniors, our children, and our grandkids,” he said.
Neil Abercrombie, a Democratic, called the measure a first step in reforming guardianship.
He also said it will allow people with disabilities to better manage their finances.
But a spokeswoman for Ige, who is running for re-election in November, said the governor would not veto the bill unless the bill includes language that would prevent people with severe mental illnesses from being financially accountable.
Ige’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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