1997 Legislative Review: Pre-Session Report

Foundation Members: The following is a list of bills–grouped by general category–we will be tracking throughout the 1997 Session. We have selected those bills with open government and first amendment implications we think will be of interest to our members. During session, we will report any activity on these bills, as well as any new legislation that may be filed, on a weekly basis. We suggest you keep this pre-session report, as the weekly reports will not contain a complete description of all the bills. Should you have any questions or need further information on a particular piece of legislation, please call (904) 222-3518 or (800) 337-3518.

PUBLIC RECORDS

COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS RECORDS

HB 99 Deepwater Ports and Nongovernment Entities: Creates a limited exemption for proposals and counter proposals related to the sale, use, or lease of land or port facilities exchanged between a deepwater port and a nongovernmental entity. Such records cease to be exempt 30 days before such proposals or counter proposals are considered for approval by the governing body of a deepwater port. Also creates an exemption for financial records submitted by nongovernmental entities to such ports. Identical to SB 450. Rep. Lesley Miller, Jr. (D-Tampa)

  • House Governmental Operations Committee: Reported favorably.

SB 450 Deepwater Ports and Nongovernment Entities: Identical to HB 99. Sen. John Grant (R-Tampa)

SB 904 Exemption for Florida Surplus Lines Service Records: Creates an exemption for information filed by surplus lines agents with the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office. Sen. John Grant (R-Tampa)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION

SB 174 Exemption for Victims and Witnesses: Creates an exemption for identifying and locating information of victims of and witness to crimes obtained in connection with victim and witness protection services. Identical to HB 181. Sen. Tom Rossin (D-West Palm Beach)

HB 181 Exemption for Victims and Witnesses: Identical to SB 174. Rep. Addie L. Greene (D-West Palm Beach)

HB 465 Criminal Justice Officers: In part, stipulates that the exemption from the Public Records Law for photographs of active and former law enforcement personnel is inapplicable in the case of arrested personnel. Rep. Mark Flanagan (R-Bradenton)

HB 493 Florida Violent Crime Council: Creates the Florida Violent Crime Council within the Department of Law Enforcement; creates an exemption for those portions of meetings when the Council presents or discusses information concerning active criminal intelligence as defined by § 119.011, F.S. Also exempts portions of public records generated at the closed council meetings, and stipulates who may attend council meetings. Rep. Bob Sindler (D-Apopka)

SB 514 Public Safety Information Act: Creates the Public Safety Information Act; authorizes state or local law enforcement agencies to release public criminal offender information that is not exempt from public disclosure under the Public Records Law. Sen. Locke Burt (R-Ormond Beach)

FEES

HB 39 Clerk’s Fee Bill: Stipulates that the fees to be charged by clerks of the court for copies of public records must be in accordance with ch. 119, F.S. Rep. Jeff Stabins (R-Spring Hill)

  • House Governmental Operations Committee: Died in committee by a vote of 1 – 4 [Rep. Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) casting only favorable vote].

SB 220 Florida Information Marketing Council: Creates the Florida Information Council within the Department of Management Services; stipulates that the Council is responsible for providing public and commercial access to public records through remote electronic means; directs the Council to establish public access outlets for government information; and authorizes the Council to establish and collect fees based on market rates for public record information in electronic formats. Sen. George Kirkpatrick (D-Gainesville)

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

SB 240 Exemption for Housing Assistance Information: Creates an exemption for medical history records, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, telephone numbers, and information related to health or property insurance furnished by an individual to any agency pursuant to federal, state, or local housing assistance programs. Sen. Howard Forman (D-Hollywood)

SB 666 Housing Finance Authority/Personal Financial Records: Stipulates that if a housing finance authority applies for or obtains a charter for a federal savings and loan association or bank, then the personal financial records of the members of the housing finance authority or the board of directors of the bank are exempt from public disclosure. Similar/identical to HB 711. Sen. Al Gutman (R-Miami)

HB 711 Housing Finance Authority/Personal Financial Records: Similar/ identical to SB 666. Rep. Jack Tobin (D-Coconut Creek)

HEALTH CARE INFORMATION

HB 511 Complaints/Managed Care Ombudsman Committee: Creates an exemption for patient records and identifying information of complainant involved in complaint to a statewide or district managed care ombudsman committee. Rep. John Rayson (D-Pompano Beach)

HB 757 Exemption for Home Medical Equipment Supplier: Stipulates that information about patients received by employees of a home medical equipment supplier or by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is exempt from public disclosure unless the patient or patient’s guardian agrees to the disclosure in writing. Requires home medical equipment supplier to screen all prospective employees, and creates an exemption for criminal records, juvenile records, or abuse hotline information obtained by the employer or AHCA for determining the moral character of such employees. Rep. Steven Geller (D-Hallandale)

SB 884 Medical Practitioner Records: Creates an exemption for any patient name or information identifying a patient obtained by the Department of Health for the purpose of compiling a practitioner profile. Also exempts other information obtained by the Department in the compilation of a practitioner profile until such profile is submitted to the public. Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Brooksville)

INSURANCE INFORMATION

SB 364 Exemption for Department of Insurance: Expands the current exemption in § 408.7056, F.S., for identifying information of subscribers to the Statewide Provider and Subscriber Assistance Program contained in reports obtained by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) or the Department of Insurance (DOI) to include such information contained in documents or reports prepared or reviewed by the review panel. Also creates an exemption for meetings of the review panel if the subscriber who filed the grievance requests the closure and AHCA or DOI determines that sensitive or personal information may be reviewed. Sen. Ginny Browne-Waite (R-Brooksville)

INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION

HB 605 Investigations/Health Care and Social Services Interns: Expands the current exemptions in §§ 455.225 and 455.261, F.S., for investigations of complaints against licensed health care and social services professionals to also include interns and provisional professionals. Identical to SB 660. Rep. Everett Kelly (D-Tavares)

SB 660 Investigations/Health Care and Social Services Interns: Identical to HB 605. Sen. Betty Holzendorf (D-Jacksonville)

SB 652 Investigations/Florida Lands Sales Division: Creates a limited exemption for information relating to investigations by the Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes Division, including consumer complaints. Stipulates that such information becomes public 10 days after a notice to show cause has been filed by the division, or if no notice is filed, when the investigation is complete or is no longer active. Sen. Fred Dudley (R-Cape Coral)

SB 888 Children and Family Services Records: Amends § 119.07(7), F.S., by providing for the release of records relating to investigations by the Department of Children and Family Services of the death of disabled adults, elderly person or children as a result of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment. Stipulates that a court must order that such records are exempt from disclosure if the Department or any person or organization shows a compelling interest requiring nondisclosure. Sen. Tom Rossin (D-West Palm Beach)

PERSONAL INFORMATION

HB 95 Exemption for Individual Motor Vehicle Records: Implements the federal Driver’s Privacy & Protection Act; creates an exemption for personal identifying information contained in motor vehicle records upon request by the person who is the subject of the record; provides certain exceptions; authorizes disclosure of driver history records under certain circumstances; authorizes resale and redisclosure under certain conditions. Identical to SB 394. Rep. Sallie Heyman (D-N. Miami Beach)

  • House Governmental Operations Committee: Reported favorably.

SB 394 Exemption for Individual Motor Vehicle Records: Identical to HB 95. Sen. John Grant (R-Tampa)

SB 354 Foster Care Licensees: Creates an exemption for identifying information and certain other information contained in files that pertain to the licensure of family foster homes, residential child-care agencies, and child-placement agencies. Sen. Jim Hargrett (D-Tampa)

HB 403 Exemption for Drug Testing Information: Creates an exemption for certain identifying information concerning drug testing of applicants to and participants in WAGES, Medicaid, and other public assistance programs. Rep. Evelyn Lynn (R – Ormond Beach)

HB 497 Exemption for Employee Assistance Program: Creates an exemption for all records associated with a county or municipal employee’s participation in an employee assistance program as defined in §§ 125.585 and 166.0444. Rep. Margo Fischer (D-St. Petersburg)

  • Withdrawn from further consideration.

SB 946 Domestic Violence/Confidentiality: Creates the Address Confidentiality Program for Victims of Domestic Violence; allows a victim of domestic violence to apply to the Secretary of State to have an address designated by the Secretary as the victim’s address of record; allows the victim to request that state and local agencies use the designated address in all public records; stipulates that the Secretary may not disclose the victim’s real address. Sen. Betty Holzendorf (D-Jacksonville)

FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUES

HB 71 Journalists’ Shield Law: Creates an absolute privilege for confidential sources, stipulating that a professional journalists does not have to be a witness or disclose any information, including the identity of any source, that the journalist received in the course of gathering news; creates a qualified privilege for the same information, stipulating that the journalist does not have to disclose the information unless the party seeking the information can show that (1) the information is relevant and material to unresolved issues; (2) the information is not available from other sources; and (3) a compelling interest exists for requiring disclosure. Identical to SB 304. Rep. Luis Rojas (R-Hialeah)

  • House Governmental Operations Committee: Amended to delete section creating absolute privilege; reported favorably (7-1) as a CS.

SB 304 Journalists’ Shield Law: Identical to HB 71. Sen. Don Sullivan (R-Seminole)

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