Florida Senate - 2014                              CS for SB 256
       By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Senator Garcia
       585-02223-14                                           2014256c1
    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 retroactive application; providing a
    8         statement of public necessity; providing an effective
    9         date.
   11  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   13         Section 1. Section 916.1065, Florida Statutes, is created
   14  to read:
   15         916.1065 Confidentiality of forensic behavioral health
   16  evaluations.
   17         (1) A forensic behavioral health evaluation filed with the
   18  court under this chapter is confidential and exempt from s.
   19  119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
   20         (2) As used in this section, the term “forensic behavioral
   21  health evaluation” means any record, including supporting
   22  documentation, derived from a competency, substance abuse,
   23  psychosexual, psychological, psychiatric, psychosocial,
   24  cognitive impairment, sanity, or other mental health evaluation
   25  of an individual.
   26         (3) The exemption under subsection (1) applies to forensic
   27  behavioral health evaluations filed with a court before, on, or
   28  after July 1, 2014.
   29         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
   30  necessity that forensic behavioral health evaluations filed with
   31  the court pursuant to chapter 916, Florida Statutes, be
   32  confidential and exempt from disclosure under s. 119.07(1),
   33  Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the State
   34  Constitution. The personal health of an individual and any
   35  treatment that he or she receives is an intensely private
   36  matter. An individual’s forensic behavioral health evaluation
   37  should not be made public merely because it is filed with the
   38  court. Protecting forensic behavioral health evaluations is
   39  necessary to ensure the health care privacy rights of all
   40  individuals. Making these evaluations confidential and exempt
   41  will protect information of a sensitive personal nature, the
   42  release of which could cause unwarranted damage to the
   43  reputation of an individual. Further, the knowledge that
   44  sensitive personal information is subject to disclosure could
   45  have a chilling effect on mental health experts who conduct the
   46  evaluations for use by the court. Therefore, making these
   47  evaluations confidential and exempt allows courts to effectively
   48  and efficiently make decisions relating to the competency of
   49  individuals who interact with the state courts system.
   50         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.