Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 2556 states that judges in the trial courts throughout the state effectively utilize what are known as therapeutic courts to remove a defendant’s or respondent’s case from the criminal and civil court traditional trial track and allow those defendants or respondents the opportunity to obtain treatment services to address particular issues that may have contributed to the conduct that led to their arrest or other issues before the court. Examples of therapeutic courts include adult drug court, juvenile drug court, family dependency treatment court or family drug court, mental health court, and community court. 

The bill authorizes and encourages trial and juvenile courts to establish and operate therapeutic courts to develop and process cases in ways which depart from traditional judicial processes. It also authorizes and encourages trial courts to establish multijurisdictional partnerships and/or interlocal agreements to enhance and expand the coverage area of the therapeutic court.

In addition, HB 2556 authorizes district and municipal courts to work cooperatively with each other and with the superior courts to identify and implement nontraditional case processing methods which can eliminate traditional barriers that decrease judicial efficiency.

Jurisdictions seeking state funding for therapeutic courts must exhaust all federal funding available to support the operation of its therapeutic court and associated services and match, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, state moneys allocated for therapeutic courts with local cash or in-kind resources.

Amendment: The amendments made by the Judiciary committee are technical in nature, i.e. corrects cross references and makes minor changes to wording and organization for purposes of clarity and consistency.

Substitute bill: Repeals and reorganizes statutes pertaining to therapeutic courts.

Creates a new chapter outlining suggested eligibility requirements, court structure, funding requirements, and other matters concerning therapeutic courts.

House Floor Amendment: As amended on the Floor, the bill reinstates two provisions of a statute that were repealed under the bill. These provisions are: (1) Prohibit the establishment of a specialty or therapeutic court specifically for the purpose of applying foreign law that is not otherwise required by treaty, and (2) prohibit specialty and therapeutic courts established by court rule from enforcing any foreign law that violates a constitutional right.