Florida Senate - 2022                                    SB 1710
       By Senator Bradley
       5-01165B-22                                           20221710__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to guardianship; amending s. 744.2001,
    3         F.S.; specifying circumstances under which the Office
    4         of Public and Professional Guardians’ executive
    5         director’s monitoring tool for ensuring compliance by
    6         professional guardians may include a certain financial
    7         audit; requiring the development of a tool utilizing
    8         the clerks of the court to collect certain data;
    9         creating s. 744.20042, F.S.; providing legislative
   10         findings and intent; requiring the Department of
   11         Elderly Affairs to collect, compile, maintain, and
   12         manage certain data submitted by clerks of the court;
   13         requiring clerks of the court to collect and report
   14         monthly specified data related to guardianship cases
   15         to the department; requiring the department to collect
   16         specified data for certain guardians; requiring the
   17         department to publish datasets in a specified manner
   18         by certain dates; providing that certain information
   19         remains confidential when reported to the department;
   20         providing that the department may disclose such
   21         information only under certain circumstances; creating
   22         s. 744.20043, F.S.; requiring the department to create
   23         and maintain a publicly available dashboard containing
   24         certain information; providing a requirement for such
   25         information; amending ss. 744.362, 744.363, 744.365,
   26         and 744.367, F.S.; requiring a guardian, in an initial
   27         guardianship report, an initial guardianship plan, a
   28         verified inventory, or an annual guardianship report,
   29         respectively, to submit certain information to the
   30         clerk of the court in a certain format; providing an
   31         effective date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) and subsection
   36  (6) of section 744.2001, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   37         744.2001 Office of Public and Professional Guardians.—There
   38  is created the Office of Public and Professional Guardians
   39  within the Department of Elderly Affairs.
   40         (3) The executive director’s oversight responsibilities of
   41  professional guardians must be finalized by October 1, 2016, and
   42  shall include, but are not limited to:
   43         (a) Developing and implementing a monitoring tool to ensure
   44  compliance of professional guardians with the standards of
   45  practice established by the Office of Public and Professional
   46  Guardians. This monitoring tool may not include a financial
   47  audit as required by the clerk of the circuit court under s.
   48  744.368 unless the tool is primarily used by the clerk of the
   49  court for auditing and reviewing purposes and the Department of
   50  Elderly Affairs collects the data derived by the tool for
   51  purposes pursuant to s. 744.20042.
   52         (6) The executive director may conduct or contract for
   53  demonstration projects authorized by the Department of Elderly
   54  Affairs, within funds appropriated or through gifts, grants, or
   55  contributions for such purposes, to determine the feasibility or
   56  desirability of new concepts of organization, administration,
   57  financing, or service delivery designed to preserve the civil
   58  and constitutional rights of persons of marginal or diminished
   59  capacity. Any gifts, grants, or contributions for such purposes
   60  shall be deposited in the Department of Elderly Affairs
   61  Administrative Trust Fund. A tool to collect data utilizing the
   62  clerks of the court must be developed in conjunction with a
   63  guardian’s duties pursuant to ss. 744.362, 744.363, 744.365, and
   64  744.367 and the clerk of the court’s duties in s. 744.368.
   65         Section 2. Section 744.20042, Florida Statutes, is created
   66  to read:
   67         744.20042 Guardianship data collection and transparency.—
   68         (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.It is the intent of
   69  the Legislature to create a model of uniform data collection
   70  related to guardianship cases in this state by requiring local
   71  clerks of the court to report complete, accurate, and timely
   72  data and to make such data available to the public. The
   73  Legislature finds that it is an important state interest to
   74  implement a uniform data collection process and promote
   75  guardianship case transparency.
   76         (2)DEPARTMENT DUTIES.—The Department of Elderly Affairs
   77  shall collect, compile, maintain, and manage data submitted by
   78  clerks of the court pursuant to subsection (3).
   79         (3)DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING.Beginning July 1, 2022,
   80  an entity required to collect data in accordance with this
   81  subsection shall collect the specified data relating to
   82  guardianship cases open on or after July 1, 2022, and submit
   83  such data in accordance with this subsection to the Department
   84  of Elderly Affairs monthly for every guardianship proceeding in
   85  a circuit court:
   86         (a) Clerk of the court.—Each clerk of the court shall
   87  collect the following data for each guardianship case that is
   88  active, or was active before such case was closed, within the
   89  county:
   90         1. Type of guardianship case, including whether it is a
   91  guardianship over:
   92         a. A minor with a developmental disability.
   93         b. An adult with a developmental disability.
   94         c. A minor which is unrelated to a developmental
   95  disability.
   96         d. An elderly person who has been deemed incapacitated by a
   97  court.
   98         e. A veteran pursuant to part VIII of this chapter.
   99         2. The current case status, including whether the case is
  100  open or pending or has been disposed of or closed.
  101         3. Information related to the participants of the
  102  guardianship case, including:
  103         a. For the ward:
  104         (I) Identifying information, including date of birth, race,
  105  ethnicity, and gender.
  106         (II) Zip code of the last known mailing address.
  107         (III) Marital status.
  108         (IV) Residential status, including whether he or she
  109  resides in:
  110         (A) A home owned by the ward.
  111         (B) A home of a family member or friend. A family member
  112  includes a spouse, former spouse, noncohabitating partner,
  113  person related by blood or marriage, person who is presently
  114  residing with the ward as if a family or who resided together in
  115  the past as if a family, and person who has a child in common
  116  with the ward regardless of whether they have been married or
  117  have resided together at any time.
  118         (C) A community residential home licensed under chapter
  119  419.
  120         (D) An assisted living facility licensed under chapter 429.
  121         (E) A nursing home or related health care facility licensed
  122  under chapter 400.
  123         (F) A correctional facility or institution governed by
  124  chapter 944.
  125         (G) A juvenile detention or residential commitment facility
  126  governed by chapter 985.
  127         (V) Whether the ward has been found to be indigent under s.
  128  27.52, including specifically if such determination was made at
  129  the time the petition was alleged or at any time during the
  130  proceedings.
  131         (VI) The date of the ward’s death, if applicable.
  132         b. For the guardian:
  133         (I) The name of the guardian.
  134         (II)The zip code of the last mailing address of the
  135  guardian.
  136         (III) The relationship status of the guardian to the ward,
  137  including whether he or she is:
  138         (A) A nonprofessional.
  139         (B) A state registered professional guardian.
  140         (C) A public guardian.
  141         (D) An attorney.
  142         (IV) Whether the guardian is the representative payee for
  143  the ward.
  144         (V) The type of guardian serving the guardianship case,
  145  including whether he or she is:
  146         (A) A guardian advocate.
  147         (B) A voluntary guardian.
  148         (C) An emergency temporary guardian.
  149         (VI) The number of cases in the county in which the
  150  guardian currently represents a ward.
  151         (VII)The number of cases from which the guardian has been
  152  removed for cause in a judicial circuit, if applicable.
  153         (VIII) Whether the guardianship is over the person but not
  154  the property.
  155         4. Information related to the attorneys representing any
  156  participant of the case, including:
  157         a. Name of attorney and his or her bar number.
  158         b. Whether the attorney has withdrawn from representation
  159  of the specified participant.
  160         5. Information related to court dates and motions,
  161  including:
  162         a. The date of any court appearance and the type of
  163  proceedings scheduled for each date reported.
  164         b. Each scheduled trial date, if applicable.
  165         c. Dismissal date and each hearing date, if applicable.
  166         d. The type of the initial pleading and date such pleading
  167  was filed, including a petition:
  168         (I) Alleging an incapacitated person.
  169         (II) For emergency temporary guardianship.
  170         (III) To appoint a successor guardian.
  171         (IV) For limited guardianship.
  172         (V) Not otherwise specified in this sub-subparagraph.
  173         e. The party filing the initial pleading, including whether
  174  the petitioner is:
  175         (I) A family member or friend.
  176         (II) A professional guardian.
  177         (III) A public guardian.
  178         (IV) An attorney.
  179         (V) The Department of Children and Families.
  180         (VI) A hospital licensed under chapter 395.
  181         (VII) Any other person not specified in this sub
  182  subparagraph.
  183         f. The reason stated in the pleading to support the
  184  petition for guardianship, including:
  185         (I) Medical condition.
  186         (II) Financial exploitation.
  187         (III) Other exploitation.
  188         (IV) Disability.
  189         (V) Abuse.
  190         (VI) Neglect or abandonment.
  191         (VII) Substance abuse.
  192         (VIII) Any other reason not specified in this sub
  193  subparagraph.
  194         g. Information related to the hearing and order of
  195  incapacity, including:
  196         (I) The date of the hearing.
  197         (II) The date of the order appointing a guardian, if
  198  applicable.
  199         (III) Whether the order is for limited or plenary
  200  guardianship.
  201         h. Information related to court monitoring, including:
  202         (I) Whether trust assets exist.
  203         (II) Whether the guardian appointed has completed his or
  204  her initial and continuing education requirements.
  205         (III) Whether a credit history investigation pursuant to s.
  206  744.3135 has been completed or waived, if applicable.
  207         (IV) Whether a level 2 background screening pursuant to s.
  208  744.3135 has been completed or waived, if applicable.
  209         i. Information related to the reason for closure or
  210  disposition of the case, including:
  211         (I) Restoration of rights of the ward.
  212         (II) The ward reaching the age of majority.
  213         (III) The death of the ward.
  214         (IV) Transfer of the case to another jurisdiction.
  215         (V) Expiration of the emergency temporary guardianship
  216  order.
  217         (VI) Dismissal of the case, including:
  218         (A) A less restrictive alternative implemented; or
  219         (B) Other reason.
  220         6. Information related to the examining committee assigned
  221  to the underlying incapacity hearing for each case, including:
  222         a. The name of each expert witness serving on the examining
  223  committee.
  224         b. The number of guardianship cases each expert witness on
  225  the examining committee has worked on in the past 10 years.
  226         c. The number of guardianship cases in which each expert
  227  witness on the examining committee has recommended the
  228  appointment of a guardian.
  229         (b) Department of Elderly Affairs.—The Department of
  230  Elderly Affairs shall collect the following data, as applicable,
  231  for all professional guardians registered with the department
  232  and any guardian identified in reports submitted by a clerk of
  233  the court, including all of the following:
  234         1. Legal name and registration number of the guardian.
  235         2. Eligibility status to serve as a professional guardian.
  236         3. Mailing and e-mail address of the guardian.
  237         4. Counties where the guardian is appointed to open
  238  guardianship cases.
  239         5. Year in which the guardian was first registered.
  240         6. Agency or firm where the guardian is employed, if
  241  applicable.
  242         7. Statewide investigation alliance-substantiated
  243  allegations, if applicable.
  244         8. Ten-year disciplinary history, if applicable.
  245         9. Number of cases where the guardian has been removed from
  246  the case for cause, if applicable.
  247         10. Number of cases in each judicial circuit where the
  248  guardian has been removed from a case for cause, if applicable.
  249         (4) DATA PUBLICLY AVAILABLE.—Beginning January 1, 2023, the
  250  department shall publish datasets in its possession, except
  251  information otherwise exempt from s. 119.071, in a modern, open,
  252  electronic format that is machine-readable and readily
  253  accessible by the public on the department’s website. Beginning
  254  March 1, 2023, and monthly thereafter, the department shall
  255  publish the data received under subsection (3), except
  256  information otherwise exempt from s. 119.071(1), in the same
  257  modern, open, electronic format that is machine-readable and
  258  readily accessible to the public on the department’s website.
  259  The published data must be searchable, at a minimum, by data
  260  elements, county, and circuit.
  261         (5) CONFIDENTIALITY.—Information collected by any reporting
  262  agency which is exempt from s. 119.071(1) when held by that
  263  agency remains exempt from s. 119.071(1) when submitted to and
  264  held by the Department of Elderly Affairs under this section.
  265  The Department of Elderly Affairs may disclose such information
  266  only if the agency submitting the information grants permission
  267  in writing to disclose the exempt information.
  268         Section 3. Section 744.20043, Florida Statutes, is created
  269  to read:
  270         744.20043 Guardianship dashboard.—The department shall
  271  create and maintain a publicly available dashboard containing
  272  certain real-time data elements to promote transparency and
  273  accountability in accordance with s. 744.20042(3) while
  274  protecting a ward’s right to privacy. The information must
  275  include the data points collected and reported in accordance
  276  with s. 744.20042 and be searchable by such data points and
  277  percentage of total data reported for each data point.
  278         Section 4. Subsection (3) is added to section 744.362,
  279  Florida Statutes, to read:
  280         744.362 Initial guardianship report.—
  281         (3) A guardian shall submit to the clerk of the court
  282  information pursuant to s. 744.20042 in an electronic format
  283  developed and approved by the Department of Elderly Affairs.
  284         Section 5. Subsection (7) is added to section 744.363,
  285  Florida Statutes, to read:
  286         744.363 Initial guardianship plan.—
  287         (7) The guardian shall submit to the clerk of the court
  288  information pursuant to s. 744.20042 in an electronic format
  289  developed and approved by the Department of Elderly Affairs.
  290         Section 6. Subsection (7) is added to section 744.365,
  291  Florida Statutes, to read:
  292         744.365 Verified inventory.—
  293         (7) DATA REPORTING.—The guardian shall submit to the clerk
  294  of the court information pursuant to s. 744.20042 in an
  295  electronic format developed and approved by the Department of
  296  Elderly Affairs.
  297         Section 7. Subsection (7) is added to section 744.367,
  298  Florida Statutes, to read:
  299         744.367 Duty to file annual guardianship report.—
  300         (7) The guardian shall submit to the clerk of the court
  301  information pursuant to s. 744.20042 in an electronic format
  302  developed and approved by the Department of Elderly Affairs.
  303         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.