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Florida Legislative Roundup: July 2020

Florida Legislative Roundup: July 2020

In June, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed several bills into law, impacting such areas as healthcare, schools, environment, law enforcement and addiction treatment and care. Some of these new laws are detailed below.

Governor DeSantis also approved and signed the state budget for fiscal year 2020-2021, totaling $92.2 billion. The new budget allocates a total of $138.1 million to continue the fight against the opioid crisis in Florida, investing $81.8 million from the State Opioid Response Grant to provide evidence-based prevention, medication-assisted treatment and recovery options.

The newly enacted bills include:

CS/CS/SB 994 Guardianship

  • Prohibits professional guardians from petitioning for their own appointment to represent an incapacitated person or minor, or from taking certain actions on behalf of those individuals. Requires the court to consider potential disqualification factors and conflicts of interest when appointing a guardian. Lawmakers made other bill revisions to better protect the personal and property interests of those under guardianship.

Effective July 1, 2020

CS/SB 7012 Substance Abuse and Mental Health

  • Makes several changes to laws relating to substance abuse and mental health services, including several related to suicide prevention.
  • Broadens the scope of the Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) by requiring the Statewide Office to coordinate education and training curricula on suicide prevention efforts for law enforcement personnel, first responders to emergency calls, veterans, military service members, health care providers and school employees.
  • Creates the First Responders Suicide Deterrence Task Force within the Statewide Office to assist in the reduction of suicide rates of first responders.
  • Broadens the scope and duties of the Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council by requiring the Council to make recommendations on the implementation of evidence-based mental health programs and suicide risk identification training programs.

CS/SB 7012 also details changes to laws regarding county jail inmates.

  • Jails must administer psychotropic medications prescribed by the DCF when a client is discharged and returned to county jail pending trial unless the jail physician documents the need to change or discontinue such medication.
  • Requires DCF physician and jail physician to consult regarding prescription medications for inmates.
  • County jails must submit all medical information to DCF on each person in their custody who will be admitted to a state mental health treatment facility for restoration of competency.

Effective July 1, 2020

HB 163 Homelessness

  • It is estimated that about 31,000 people are currently homeless in the state of Florida, the third highest number of any state. Homelessness also contributes to increased rates of addiction and mental health challenges. In an effort to reduce those numbers, HB 163 aligns state requirements with federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements, which includes implementation of a housing crisis response system, and a more efficient system of awarding grants to Continuum of Care (CoC) lead agencies.

Effective July 1, 2020

CS/HB 177 Prescription Drug Donation Repository Program

  • Revises a previous law that required the destruction of unused, unopened medications, to allow them to be donated through a designated distribution program.

Effective July 1, 2020

 

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