Lawmakers, in whittling down public records, add exemptions they say are necessary after Parkland

Tampa Bay Times by Elizabeth Koh and Emily L. Mahoney

March 11, 2018

Nearly a dozen new exemptions to public records are poised to become law after this year’s legislative session, as lawmakers chipped away at what information is available to the public under the state’s Sunshine Law.

At least two of those exemptions — crafted as part of the state’s response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last month — have already been approved by Gov. Rick Scott after he signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act into law Friday.

One of the two exemptions, SB 7024, shields the home addresses of victims of mass violence. The other, SB 1940, withholds the identities of armed school staff who are trained as part of the state’s new “guardian” program. That last one has open government activists particularly concerned.

The controversial program — named after Aaron Feis, the Stoneman Douglas high school coach who was killed protecting his students — would require staff who opt-in to the program to receive 132 hours of firearm training and diversity training and undergo psychological and physical tests. Most teachers are not eligible to participate, but coaches, administrators, and other support staff would be. [READ MORE]

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