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.
   10  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.