Parental Rights Bill Awaiting Governor DeSantis Signature

Woman holding her child.


One of the 24 bills officially submitted to Governor Ron DeSantis Friday was the parental rights bill (HB 241). If approved by DeSantis, the bill would establish and expand parents rights related to the health care and education of their minor child or children.

One of the major changes the bill brings to the current law is the expansion in parents rights over their child’s school records that currently sits primarily in the hands of schools and their districts. Two of these rights – in Section 5, Section 1014.04 (a) and (d) Florida Statutes – include the right to direct the education and care of his or her minor child and the right to access and review all school records relating to his or her minor child.

The proposed Parents’ Bill of Rights gives parents the right to make health care decisions for his or her minor child, and the right to access and review all medical records of his or her minor child. Currently, Section 743.064 Florida Statutes allows emergency medical service providers to give emergency assistance or treatment to a minor without the consent of the parent in circumstances where parent identification is unattainable at that particular moment.

In May, a letter to DeSantis signed by leaders of eight different medical associations in Florida, expressed their concern over HB 241 becoming a law. They argued it would negate the emergency assistance authority described in Section 743.064. The bill does not mention emergency care, and penalizes physicians or other emergency caregivers with fines or jail time if they provide medical care without written parental consent.

As reported by The News Service of Floridathe letter stated, “Imagine the dilemma of seeing a child sustain a spinal cord injury from a fall, being present and able to provide emergency medical assistance that might save that child’s life, but being legally prohibited from doing so unless the parent was present to provide written consent.”

Governor DeSantis has until June 30, 2021 to either approve or veto the bill. If signed into law, the bill will take effect July 1, 2021.

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]










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