Guardian bill passes first Senate hurdle

Senate Bill 994 passes unanimously through committee

(News 6)

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs wasted no time and quickly passed SB 994 at the very start of their committee hearing.

It is one of many committees that will decide whether the bill will make it to a vote before lawmakers during the 2020 session.

The bills focus on putting greater restrictions and regulations on guardians who are picked to oversee the financial and medical affairs of patients who a court has determined are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions on their own.

[RELATED: Florida lawmakers draft bill requiring more oversight for Do Not Resuscitate orders | Judge orders court-appointed guardian to be stripped of almost 100 cases]

The bills were introduced in the wake of a state criminal investigation into former Central Florida guardian Rebecca Fierle, who stands accused of abusing her power as a guardian and who placed do not resuscitate orders on clients without their permission, and without the permission of a judge.

She is also accused of double billing clients and a local hospital millions of dollars over the course of several years, and not reporting those financial gains to the court.

Later Wednesday afternoon, the companion bill on the house side was presented to the Justice Committee. Committee members voted unanimously in support of the House version of the bill. That after it already passed unanimously in the House Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs last month.

News 6 is committed to tracking these bills as they make their way through the committee process.

Be sure to stay tuned to News 6 and for developments.