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City’s work pays off as Gov. Rick Scott signs ‘Sober Home Bill’ into law

June 19, 2015

State Representative Gayle Harrell announced this week that Governor Rick Scott signed HB21 — the “Sober Home Bill.” Passage of HB21 comes after years of research and hard work by Rep. Harrell, the Port St. Lucie City Council and others.

“This bill represents the hard work of dozens of people and I can’t tell you how happy I am to see this come to fruition,” said Harrell. “I have spent countless hours listening to constituents concerns, talking with local elected officials, and even more hours explaining the issue to fellow Legislators.”

Co-sponsored by Rep. Bill Hagar, the bill establishes a voluntary certification program for recovery residences and recovery residence administrators. It prohibits licensed substance abuse treatment providers from referring patients to recovery residences which are not certified or not owned and operated by a licensed substance abuse treatment provider.

“The bill is already having an impact. Last month my office received calls from people out of state considering establishing sober homes who wanted to make sure they would be in compliance with the new certification,” said Hager. “It’s a win-win for our communities and the sober home residents.”

The new law:

  • Requires the credentialing entity to inspect recovery residences prior to the initial certification — during every subsequent renewal period.
  • Requires the credentialing agency to automatically terminate certification if it is not renewed within one year of the issuance date.
  • Sets application, inspection and renewal fees for the certification programs.
  • Requires the credentialing agency to deny, suspend or revoke certification if a recovery residence or administrator fails to meet and maintain certain criteria.
  • Requires certified recovery residences to be actively managed by a certified recovery residence administrator.
  • Requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to select a credentialing entity by Dec. 1. Requires DCF to issue certificates of compliance for each program and establishes the criteria for selecting the entity.

“Thanks to the leadership of our State Representative Harrell and her co-sponsor Representative Bill Hager and the support of our leaders, organizations and citizens, the ‘Florida Sober Home Bill’ will become effective July 1,” said Mayor Gregory J. Oravec. “It took a lot of hard work, not only from our elected officials in the Florida House and Senate, but also from our Port St. Lucie City Council, who made this the focus of its legislative agenda and lobbied tirelessly for its passage.”

For more information, contact:
Karen Sweeney
Legislative Aide to
State Representative Gayle Harrell
House District 83
(772) 221-4011