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Politics / Issues
Get the latest coverage of the 2022 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

DeSantis signs student mental health bill that requires schools to tell parents of available services

child mental health
Christophe Ena
/
AP
Teddy bears are placed on the bed of a child at the pediatric unit of the Robert Debre hospital, in Paris, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. A year into the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of children are coming apart at the seams, their mental health shredded by the traumas of deaths, sickness and job losses in their families, the disruptions of lockdowns and curfews, and a deluge of anxieties poisoning their fragile young minds. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The law requires that parents of students receiving mental-health services be informed of “other behavioral health services available through the student's school or local community-based” providers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed 13 bills into law, including a measure that will require school districts to inform parents of additional mental-health resources if students are receiving services.

The bill (HB 899), which passed during the legislative session that ended in March, would require that parents of students receiving mental-health services be informed of “other behavioral health services available through the student's school or local community-based” providers.

Schools could meet the requirement by providing internet addresses for web-based directories or guides for local behavioral-health services.

The bill also would require that people living in households with students receiving such services be informed of similar resources “if such services appear to be needed or enhancements in those individuals' behavioral health would contribute to the improved well-being of the student.”

Among the other bills signed Wednesday was a measure (HB 909) that deals with authority to assess potential liability for the presence of contaminants on agricultural land that is being converted to non-agriculture use.

The measure (HB 909) would give the secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection exclusive jurisdiction over such matters.

The measure drew opposition from the group Friends of the Everglades, which expressed concern that it “would create a presumption that pesticides used in agricultural operations are being applied correctly” and in compliance with state regulations.

“Friends of the Everglades has opposed the measures (the House bill and a Senate version), as we’re concerned with attempts to limit regulatory authority where contaminants could further harm our waters and all who use them,” the organization wrote during the session.