The Florida Mental Health Counselors Association’s (FMHCA) Government Relations Committee (GRC) has received inquiries from members regarding recent news reports stating that Governor DeSantis has vetoed HB 385. This bill aimed to enable counselors from other states to apply for the opportunity to practice in Florida by paying fees. Some members are uncertain whether this veto indicates that Governor DeSantis no longer endorses the Counseling Compact or if Florida is no longer part of it.
FMHCA’s GRC has consulted their lobbyist, who informed them that Governor DeSantis is fulfilling his promise to veto all fee-related bills. The veto does not indicate a lack of support for the compact, which the governor had previously signed into law on April 6, 2022. This historic action made Florida one of the first ten states to join the compact. Additionally, the 491 Board has confirmed that the bill was not necessary for Florida to remain a part of the Counseling Compact.
The 491 Board has assured us that individuals seeking permission to practice in Florida will be funded through the board's trust fund, and they are actively working towards implementing the compact. The compact is expected to take effect in early 2024.
We hope this clarification alleviates any concerns members may have regarding the veto. Rest assured that the FMHCA remains fully committed to supporting the Counseling Compact in Florida.