Help For Mental Health On The Horizon? Our State Rep Hopes His Bill Will Reform Mental Health Issues In Florida

Help For Mental Health On The Horizon? Our State Rep Hopes His Bill Will Reform Mental Health Issues In Florida

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The Florida House of Representative's Children, Families & Senior's Subcommittee has introduced a groundbreaking bill, PCB CFS 24-01, to overhaul the state's mental health system. Spearheaded by Representative Patt Maney, the legislation addresses gaps in involuntary mental health treatment, allowing law enforcement discretion and broadening the range of qualified medical practitioners. The proposed reforms aim to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and ensure individuals receive the care they need.

The Florida House of Representative’s Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee filed a comprehensive bill that elected officials hope will substantively improve mental health services under the Baker and Marchman Acts. 

FROM LAST YEAR: Mental Health and Higher Ed – Representative Patt Maney Prepares for a Third Year In The Florida House. 

The proposed legislation, PCB CFS 24-01, spearheaded by State Representative Patt Maney, seeks to reform standards for involuntary mental health treatment, enhance access to care, and reduce recidivism.

Representative Maney made efforts in all three of his previous years as a representative in Tallahassee to enact major legislative changes to reform the mental health system in Florida, with mixed results. 

Maney emphasized his belief in the urgency of overhauling the state’s current mental health framework. “There is a disconnect in services delivered and results actualized in our Sunshine State’s mental health system, and I’ve seen it time and again as a former judge and now as a lawmaker,” said Maney. He expressed gratitude to House Speaker Paul Renner, State Representative Traci Koster, and House leadership for their commitment to meaningful reform.

The proposed legislation encompasses several key improvements, including aligning processes and standards under the Baker and Marchman Acts, granting law enforcement discretion in initiating involuntary mental health evaluations, and allowing physician assistants and APRNs to practice in psychiatric settings. 

Additionally, the bill aims to streamline the legal process by requiring only one petition, providing remote hearing options, and extending the period for Marchman Act extension petitions.

Other notable provisions include revised standards for testimony, allowing testimony via telecommunications, eliminating the requirement to appoint guardian advocates under the Marchman Act, and providing a process for sworn reports for individuals determined unrestorable. 

The bill also mandates data analysis to be posted on the Department of Children and Families website.

The proposed legislation is scheduled for discussion in the Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee agenda on Wednesday, January 10.

In addition to mental health reform, the Florida Legislature is anticipated to address several high-priority issues during the 2024 Regular Legislative Session, including the state’s budget, access to health care, artificial intelligence-generated content, hurricane relief, insurance rates, deregulation of public schools, and opportunities for tax relief. 

The legislative session is set to begin on Tuesday, January 9, and conclude on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Constituent inquiries regarding the bill can be directed to or the Fort Walton Beach District Office at (850) 833-3713.

More About State Representative Patt Maney

Representative Patt Maney, a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and former Okaloosa County Judge, was first elected in 2020 to represent House District 4 in the southern part of Okaloosa County, including Niceville, Valparaiso, Bluewater Bay and Eglin Air Force Base. 

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