Florida Senate - 2014 CS for SB 256 By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability; and Senator Garcia 585-02223-14 2014256c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public records; creating s. 3 916.1065, F.S.; creating an exemption from public 4 records requirements for a forensic behavioral health 5 evaluation filed with a court; providing a definition 6 for the term “forensic behavioral health evaluation”; 7 providing retroactive application; providing a 8 statement of public necessity; providing an effective 9 date. 10 11 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 12 13 Section 1. Section 916.1065, Florida Statutes, is created 14 to read: 15 916.1065 Confidentiality of forensic behavioral health 16 evaluations. 17 (1) A forensic behavioral health evaluation filed with the 18 court under this chapter is confidential and exempt from s. 19 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. 20 (2) As used in this section, the term “forensic behavioral 21 health evaluation” means any record, including supporting 22 documentation, derived from a competency, substance abuse, 23 psychosexual, psychological, psychiatric, psychosocial, 24 cognitive impairment, sanity, or other mental health evaluation 25 of an individual. 26 (3) The exemption under subsection (1) applies to forensic 27 behavioral health evaluations filed with a court before, on, or 28 after July 1, 2014. 29 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 30 necessity that forensic behavioral health evaluations filed with 31 the court pursuant to chapter 916, Florida Statutes, be 32 confidential and exempt from disclosure under s. 119.07(1), 33 Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the State 34 Constitution. The personal health of an individual and any 35 treatment that he or she receives is an intensely private 36 matter. An individual’s forensic behavioral health evaluation 37 should not be made public merely because it is filed with the 38 court. Protecting forensic behavioral health evaluations is 39 necessary to ensure the health care privacy rights of all 40 individuals. Making these evaluations confidential and exempt 41 will protect information of a sensitive personal nature, the 42 release of which could cause unwarranted damage to the 43 reputation of an individual. Further, the knowledge that 44 sensitive personal information is subject to disclosure could 45 have a chilling effect on mental health experts who conduct the 46 evaluations for use by the court. Therefore, making these 47 evaluations confidential and exempt allows courts to effectively 48 and efficiently make decisions relating to the competency of 49 individuals who interact with the state courts system. 50 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.