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The Florida Senate

CS/CS/SB 838 — Public Records/Mental Health Treatment and Services

by Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee; Rules Committee; and Senator Powell

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee (CF)

The bill creates new exemptions from the public records inspection and access requirements of Art. 1, s. 24(a) of the State Constitution and s. 119.07(1), F.S. The bill makes confidential and exempt pleadings, orders, and personal identifying information on Baker Act proceedings. The information may be disclosed upon request to certain persons involved in the proceedings, certain agencies, or when directed by the court. The Florida Mental Health Act, also known as the Baker Act, allows for voluntary and, under certain circumstances, involuntary, examinations of individuals suspected of having a mental illness and presenting a threat of harm to themselves or others, and establishes procedures for courts, law enforcement, and certain health care practitioners to initiate such examinations and then act in response to the findings.

The bill provides that the exemptions are subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act, and stand repealed on October 2, 2024, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature. The bill also provides a statement of public necessity as required by the State Constitution.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2019.

Vote: Senate 40-0; House 112-0