FAF Letter to Rep. Jenne Re: HB 417 Exemption/Child Advocacy Centers

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3 January 2018
The Honorable Evan Jenne
Florida House of Representatives
402 South Monroe Street, Room 316, The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

Re: HB 417 Exemption/Child Advocacy Centers

Dear Representative Jenne:

We are writing to express some concerns regarding HB 417, which creates a public record exemption for the home addresses and other public record information of child advocacy center personnel or child protection team members, and their spouses and children.

While we are not necessarily opposed to the proposed exemption, Representative Jenne, we believe that it fails to meet the constitutional standard for public record exemptions under Article I, s. 24 of the State Constitution. The statement of public necessity merely asserts that release of this information might result in disgruntled persons trying to harm child advocacy center personnel and child protection team members, or their spouses and children. In other words, the need for this exemption is speculative at best, and we’ve seen no evidence that a threat of harm exists to these individuals or that such harm has in fact occurred. Further, the statement of public necessity does not identify examples of such harm, either threatened or actual. As it is currently drafted, the statement of public necessity fails to justify the exemption.

Therefore, we suggest that HB 417 be amended so as to include compelling evidentiary support in the statement of public necessity.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns, Representative Jenne. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
Barbara A. Petersen, President

Cc: The Honorable Richard Corcoran, Speaker, Florida House of Representatives
Jon Kaney, General Counsel, First Amendment Foundation
Sam Morley, General Counsel, Florida Press Association

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