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Bill requiring judges to consider ‘supported decision making’ when appointing guardians for the developmentally disabled on the fast track

Bill requiring judges to consider ‘supported decision making’ when appointing guardians for the developmentally disabled on the fast track

Bill requiring judges to consider ‘supported decision making’ when appointing guardians for the developmentally disabled on the fast track

Bill requiring judges to consider ‘supported decision making’ when appointing guardians for the developmentally disabled on the fast track

Rep. Allison Tant

Rep. Allison Tant

The Legislature is poised to approve a bipartisan measure that would require judges to first consider “supported decision making” before appointing a guardian for people with developmental disabilities.

The House voted 117-0 on Thursday to approve HB 73 by Rep. Allison Tant, D-Tallahassee. A Senate companion, SB 446 by Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee, is parked on the Senate calendar. Neither measure has garnered a negative vote.

Final legislative approval could come as soon as Wednesday when the Senate next goes to the floor.

Simon praised the bill effusively when he appeared before the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee in January.

“This is a great bill, it really restores the rights of those folks with disabilities, giving them a voice as to their needs.”

Sen. Corey Simon

Sen. Corey Simon

In weighing the appointment of a guardian, a court would be required to consider a person’s “ability to independently exercise his or her rights with appropriate assistance,” the bill states.

It defines supported decision making as “an agreement in which the power of attorney grants an agent the authority to receive information and to communicate on behalf of the principal in any subject matter.”

The bill language makes it clear that a supported decision-making agreement is “not a durable power of attorney.”

Another provision would make it easier for people with developmental disabilities to seek restoration of their rights with the aid of supported decision making.

According to a staff analysis, the measure has the potential to “reduce costs to the court system for guardianship and guardian advocate proceedings to the extent that those proceedings are replaced by supported decision-making agreements.”

Disability Rights Florida, ARC, and the Florida Smart Justice Alliance support the proposed legislation.

 

Originally published at https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-news/bill-requiring-judges-to-consider-supported-decision-making-when-appointing-guardians-for-the-developmentally-disabled-on-the-fast-track/

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