Florida State House District 4
The Florida House of Representatives
Representative Patt Maney
District 4 
January 8, 2024
Kim Hawkes
Major Improvements to State's Mental Health System Proposed in the Florida House
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, building from the efforts of State Representative Patt Maney, the Florida House of Representative's Children, Families & Senior's Subcommittee filed a comprehensive bill to substantively improve the State of Florida's mental health system and services delivered under the Baker and Marchman Acts. PCB CFS 24-01 would reform standards for involuntary mental health treatment services, broaden the definition of licensed medical practitioners qualified to provide care, and refine the responsibilities of county courts in a collaborative effort to reduce recidivism, improve access to care, and increase efficiency of service delivery. 
"This has been a top priority of mine since my days on the bench in Okaloosa," said State Representative Patt Maney - HD4. "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. This legislation is going to tighten down the bolts and help us ensure those who need it most are receiving the care they need to get back on the right foot, once and for all. I'm exceedingly thankful to House Speaker Paul Renner, State Representative Traci Koster and House leadership for spearheading meaningful mental health reform for the great State of Florida. Our communities deserve nothing less."
Among other improvements, the proposed legislation will:
  • Align differing processes/criteria/standards under Baker Act (BA) and Marchman Act (MA),
  • Allow law enforcement discretion whether to initiate an involuntary mental health evaluation,
  • Allow physician assistants and APRNs to practice in psychiatric settings for physical healthcare within their scope of practice,
  • Revise standards for testimony to ease court's receipt of additional information, such as allowing testimony via telecommunications and providing new opportunities for family testimony,
  • Allow remote hearings for individuals eligible for involuntary exams after "Incompetent to Proceed" commitment,
  • Require only one petition rather than the current two petition process,
  • Allow a longer period for MA extension petitions to be filed,
  • Allow court more authority to determine type of involuntary services ordered,
  • Eliminate requirement to appoint guardian advocates under MA,
  • Provide a process for sworn reports for individuals determined unrestorable to speed the process of civil commitment,
  • Require data analysis to be posted to DCF's website.

To read the full text of the bill, please click HERE. PCB CFS 24-01 is included in the Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee agenda for Wednesday, January 10. 
In addition to mental health reform, the Florida Legislature is expected to address a number of other high priority issues during 2024's Regular Legislative Session, to include the state's budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, access to health care, artificial intelligence-generated content, outstanding hurricane relief, rising insurance rates, deregulation of public schools, and opportunities for tax relief. Legislative Session begins Tuesday, January 9 and is expected to end Friday, March 8, 2024. 
Constituent inquiries can be directed to or the Fort Walton Beach District Office (850) 833-3713. 
Florida State Representative Patt Maney was first elected in 2020 to represent the residents of House District 4 in part of Okaloosa County. A retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and former Okaloosa County Judge, Representative Maney is a proven, conservative leader for both his country and community, driving commonsense solutions for Florida families in the Panhandle.
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"Thank you for allowing me to represent you. It is truly an honor to serve you and the State of Florida." - Representative Patt Maney