Florida Senate - 2014 SB 256 By Senator Garcia 38-00335-14 2014256__ 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 a statement of public necessity; providing 8 an effective date. 9 10 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 11 12 Section 1. Section 916.1065, Florida Statutes, is created 13 to read: 14 916.1065 Confidentiality of forensic behavioral health 15 evaluations. 16 (1) A forensic behavioral health evaluation filed with the 17 court under this chapter is confidential and exempt from s. 18 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. 19 (2) As used in this section, the term “forensic behavioral 20 health evaluation” means any record, including supporting 21 documentation, derived from a competency, substance abuse, 22 psychosexual, psychological, psychiatric, psychosocial, 23 cognitive impairment, sanity, or other mental health evaluation 24 of an individual. 25 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 26 necessity that forensic behavioral health evaluations filed with 27 the court pursuant to chapter 916, Florida Statutes, be 28 confidential and exempt from disclosure under s. 24(a), Article 29 I of the State Constitution. The personal health of an 30 individual and any treatment that he or she receives is an 31 intensely private matter. An individual’s forensic behavioral 32 health evaluation should not be made public merely because it is 33 filed with the court. Protecting forensic behavioral health 34 evaluations is necessary to ensure the health care privacy 35 rights of all individuals. Making these evaluations confidential 36 and exempt will protect information of a sensitive personal 37 nature, the release of which could cause unwarranted damage to 38 the reputation of an individual. Further, the knowledge that 39 sensitive personal information is subject to disclosure could 40 have a chilling effect on mental health experts who conduct the 41 evaluations for use by the court. Therefore, making these 42 evaluations confidential and exempt allows courts to effectively 43 and efficiently make decisions relating to the competency of 44 individuals who interact with the state courts system. 45 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.