Sponsors of the bill claim it's a necessary extension of Georgia's current medical health laws, but medical professionals familiar with current practices in the area of mental health are asking why It would be necessary to provide broad criminal and civil immunities to practitioners firms, organizations and associations acting under the proposed bill.
They also question the numerous studies defined inside the bill noting that much of the information which would be produced through these studies is already available in current Georgia systems. Practitioners say the number, type and location of mental health bed and the type and locations of licensed practitioners is easily access today.
As for the now infamous provision allowing any person to be confined against their will for evaluation based on two affidavits (with the names of the accusers redacted,) they say this appears to violate the right to "Due Process" and a violation of a person's freedoms.
In the last few days, in conference with a group of citizens, one of the Bills sponsors, Rep. Todd Jones spoke of a DOJ settlement which requires that a Bill like HB 520 be put into place Citizen investigators found the DOJ settlement which occurred in 2011 and reports completed as part of the Bill's requirements. In contrast to Rep. Jones explanation, a 2020 report actually speaks positively of Georgia's efforts to improve mental health and does not mention the need for any sweeping changes like those build into HB 520.
With citizens, medical professionals, and now written reports all casting questions on HP 520, legislators have chosen to create a substitute bill which may emerge today.
Opponents urge citizens to remain vigilant and be ready to again raise their voices should any of the existing concerns be found in any subsequent Bill.