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Scott signs more than 3 dozen bills

1 of 38 bills signed involves changes to Baker Act

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Continuing to finish work from the 2017 regular legislative session and a special session, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed 38 bills on issues ranging from aerial drones to memory-care services.

The highest-profile bill (SB 8-A) carries out a November constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

But others included a bill (HB 1027) that sets guidelines for the use of aerial drones; a bill (HB 883) that establishes a memory-disorder clinic at Florida Hospital in Orange County; a bill (HB 813) aimed at helping build a private flood-insurance market; and a bill (HB 1169) that designates part of a road in Pinellas County as “Officer Charles 'Charlie K' Kondek, Jr., Memorial Highway” after a longtime Tarpon Springs police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

Scott also signed a bill (HB 1121) that makes changes to the child welfare system, including changes to the Baker Act.

The I-TEAM reported this week that the number of children undergoing involuntary psychiatric exams under the Baker Act has sharply increased in recent years. 

I-TEAM: Number of children held under Baker Act growing

Under the new law, children must be examined within the first 12 hours of the commitment, which can last for up to 72 hours.

Additionally, a task force will be formed to look at alternatives to the Baker Act, and to make sure it’s not being abused.

Jacksonville-area state Sen. Audrey Gibson helped craft the changes to the Baker Act. The changes take effect July 1.