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2012 Florida Legislative Summary

TALLAHASSEE – The following is a summary of bills pertaining to public records and open meetings introduced during the 2012 legislative session.

The following eight bills create new exemptions to the state Public Records and Open Meetings Laws.

SB 374 Exemption/Donors – Historic Capitol Museum: Creates a public records exemption for information identifying a donor or prospective donor to the Legislative Research Center and Museum at the Historic Capitol if the donor or prospective donor wants to remain anonymous.  Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice).  Signed by Gov. Scott March 23.


SB 570 Exemption/Donors – Performing Arts Centers: Creates a Public Records Law exemption for information identifying a donor or prospective donor to publicly owned performing arts centers if the donor or prospective donor wants to remain anonymous.  Sen. Jeremy Ring (R-Margate).  Signed by Gov. Scott March 23.


CS/HB 629 Exemption/Telephone Numbers and Dates of Birth: Expands the current public records exemption to exempt telephone numbers and dates of birth of government employees and their families.  Clarifies the exemption for law enforcement officers to include active or former “sworn or civilian” law enforcement personnel, and expands the exemption for judges and justices to include current or former justices and judges.  Rep. Ed Hooper (R-Clearwater).  Signed by Gov. Scott April 24.


CS/HB 645 Exemption/Title Insurance Information: Creates a public record exemption for proprietary business information provided to the Department of Financial Service. This information can include: business plans; internal auditing controls and reports of internal auditors; reports of external auditors; trade secrets; and financial information, including revenue data, loss expense data, gross receipts, taxes paid, capital investment, customer identification, and employee wages.  Rep. George Moraitis, Jr. (R-Fort Lauderdale).  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.

CS/HB 1089 Exemption/Home Addresses – DBPR & Tax Collectors: Creates a public records exemption for the home addresses, telephone numbers, and photographs of current and former investigators and inspectors of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the children and spouses of such investigators and inspectors.  Also creates a public records exemption for the home addresses and telephone numbers of county tax collectors and the children and spouses of such collectors.  Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach).  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


CS/HB 1193 Exemption/Victims of Violence: Creates an exemption from the Public Records Law for personally identifying and location information of victims of domestic, dating, sexual or repeat violence provided to the clerks of court and law enforcement in order for the victims to receive automatic notification when a restraining order requested by the victim has been served. Requires the victims to request protection of their personal information in writing.  Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville).  Signed by Gov. Scott April 27.


HB 1239 Exemption/Department of Citrus Research Reports: Creates a public record exemption for non-published reports or data conducted by the Department of Citrus related to research on citrus disease and crop efficiency conducted.  Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow); Rep. Steve Crusafelli (R-Merritt Island).  Signed by Gov. Scott April 27.

CS/SB 1856 Exemption/Biomedical Research: Creates an exemption for portions of peer review panels of the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program and the William G. “Bill” Bankhead, Jr., and David Coley Cancer Research Program.  Also creates an exemption for records related to biomedical research grant applications and for research grant applications reviewed by the peer review panel.  Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami).  Signed by Gov. Scott March 23.

The following four open government bills were passed in 2012 but do not create exemptions.


  HB 231 Meetings and Workshops/Interlocal Agreements:  Allows interlocal boards or commissions to conduct public meetings and workshops by conference telephone, video or other communications technology if the board or commission has member public agencies in at least 5 counties, if at least three are not contiguous.  Rep. Mike Horner (R-Kissimmee). Signed by Gov. Scott April 6.


SB 878 Evaluations/University and College Presidents: Specifying records constituting “limited-access records” under the rules adopted by the State Board of Education proscribing the content and custody of records the Florida College System may maintain  on its employees.  Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Wellington).  Signed by Gov. Scott April 27.

CS/HB 937 Publication/Legal Notice: Requires newspapers publishing legal notices to place such notices on their websites and make such notices accessible to the public at no charge.  Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne).  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.

CS/HB 1305 Application of Open Government Laws to Officers-Elect: Requires certain elected officials, upon their election, to adopt and implement reasonable measures to ensure compliance with Public Records Law, including retention requirements.  Amends the open meetings law to apply to such elected officials.  Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach).  Signed by Gov. Scott March 23.

The following exemptions were reenacted in 2012 under the Open Government Sunset Review Act (OGSR), which requires review of exemptions every five years.


SB 446 Insurance Claim Exchange Data: Reenacts with minor changes the public records exemption for personal information obtained by the Department of Revenue used for identifying parents who owe past due child support.  S. Children, Families & Elder Affairs Committee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7013 Census Bureau Address Information: Repeals the public records exemption for United States Census Bureau address information, including maps showing structure location points, agency records verifying addresses, and agency records identifying address errors or omissions, held by an agency pursuant to the Local Update of Census Addresses Program under Federal law.  H. Governmental Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7015 Donors – House Museums: Reenacts the public records exemption for information that would identify a donor or prospective donor to a publicly owned house museum designated by the United State Department of Interior as a National Historic Landmark if the donor or prospective donor desires to remain anonymous.  H. Governmental Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7017 Donors – Historic St. Augustine: Reenacts the public records exemption for information that would identify a donor or prospective donor to the direct support organization for Historic St. Augustine, housed at the University of Florida, if the donor or prospective donor desires to remain anonymous.  H. Governmental Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7033 DHSMV – Personal Identifying Information: Reenacts with minor changes the public records exemption protecting personal identifying information, and the policy numbers, of anyone insured or formerly insured under personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance policies held by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  H. Governmental Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7035 Physician Workforce Surveys: Reenacts with minor changes the public records exemption for personal identifying information contained in physician workforce surveys submitted to the Department of Health by physicians and osteopathic physicians renewing their professional licenses.   H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7037 Sunshine State One-Call:  Reenacts the public records exemption for propriety confidential business information held by Sunshine State On-Call Florida, Inc.  H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7103 Florida Opportunity Fund: Reorganizes the public records exemption proprietary confidential business concerning investments and the identity of investors or potential investors in projects reviewed by the fund who wish to remain anonymous as well as materials that relate to methods of manufacture or production, potential trade secrets, or patentable material that is received or discovered during research by universities held by the Florida Opportunity Fund or the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research. Reenacts with changes the exemption for portions of meetings of the boards of the Fund or Institute during which exempt information is presented or discussed.  H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7105 Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association: Reenacts the public records exemption for various records held by the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association, including (1) underwriting files; (2) claims files under termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims arising out of the same incident; (3) audit reports until the audit is completed; (4) proprietary information; (5) medical information relating to the medical condition of an individual; (6) information relating to negotiations for financing, etc., until the conclusion of the negotiations; (7) reports of fraud until investigation of such fraud is complete or no longer active; (8) payroll information received from the Department of Revenue; and (9) attorney-client work product.  Reenacts the exemption for portions of meetings at which exempt records or information is discussed as well as transcripts and minutes of the closed meetings.  H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7107 Consumer Complaints -- Florida Insurance Code:  Reenacts with minor changes the public records exemption protecting personal and financial and health information held by the Department of Financial Services relating to a consumer complaint or inquiry filed under the Florida Insurance Code or Workers’ Compensation Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office.  H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7109 Lifeline Assistance Plan: Reenacts the public records exemption for personal identifying information of participants in a telecommunications carrier’s Lifeline Assistance Plan held by the Public Service Commission.  H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.


HB 7111 Unclaimed Property Reports:  Removes the exception to the public records exemption for social security numbers and property identifiers contained in unclaimed property reports held by the Department of Financial Services.  H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott May 4.
CS/HB 7115 Economic Development Records:  Reenacts with changes the public records exemption for information held by economic development agencies.  Creates a 12-month exemption for private companies and corporations that provide a written request for confidentiality before an economic incentives agreement is signed.  Creates an exemption for certain information related to a signed economic development agreement after a final product order is issued.  Removes the exemption for anticipated wages the project jobs the business plans to create and the average wage actually paid by the business for the jobs created by the project. H. Government Operations Subcommittee.  Signed by Gov. Scott March 23.

Source: First Amendment Foundation, http://www.flsenate.gov and http://www.myfloridahouse.gov