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Mental Health Reform Effort Heads To Scott

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Florida Governor's Office
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Rick Scott will have 15 days to take action on a bill (SB 12) that would make wide-ranging changes in the state's mental-health and substance-abuse treatment systems.

Legislative leaders Friday formally sent the measure to Scott, who also received a bill (SB 184) that addresses a series of issues related to members of the military and veterans.

Lawmakers approved the mental-health and substance-abuse bill on the final day of the legislative session, after a similar measure died last year.

A focus of this year's bill is what is known as a "no wrong door" policy, which would allow people who need mental-health or substance-abuse treatment to get it no matter how they enter the systems --- whether through criminal offenses or personal crises. To do that, the bill would create central receiving facilities to function as single points of access to emergency care and intervention services.

Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, sponsored the bill, with House Children, Families and Seniors Chairwoman Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, and Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island, spearheading the issue in the House.

The military-related bill, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, includes setting a seven-day timeframe for landlords to act on lease applications submitted by service members.

Also, in part, the bill would make clear that former members of the Florida National Guard would be eligible for the Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame.