1998 Legislative Report for Period Ending March 20

Symbol Meaning
Current action
CS Committee Substitute
P Passed both Chambers
W Withdrawn from further consideration
97 Bills carried over from 1997 Session

For Period Ending: March 20

97 CS/HB 71 Journalists’ Shield Law: Creates a qualified privilege for confidential sources, stipulating that a professional journalist 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, 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. Similar to SB 150. House sponsor unknown at this time.

  • H. Civil Justice & Claims Committee: Amended to conform to Senate companion and to delete exemption for pre- and postsentence investigative reports; reported favorably.

p SB 112 Exemption for Employee Assistance Program Records: Creates a public records exemption for all records and communications concerning a state, municipal, or county employee’s participation in an employee substance abuse program. Similar to CS/HB 901. Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Palm Harbor)

  • House: Substituted for HB 901; passed the House (117/0). Certified to the Senate.

p SB 348 Exemption for Video-Taped Statements of Minors: Creates a public records exemption for information identifying minors who are the victims of certain, specified sexual crimes in their video-taped statements. Similar to CS/HB 1105. Sen. Anna Cowin (R-Leesburg), and others.

  • House: Substituted for CS/HB 1105; passed the House (116/0). Certified to the Senate.

SB 806 Investigations/Florida Land Sales Division: Stipulates that information relative to an investigation by the Florida Land Sales Division is exempt from the Public Records Law until 10 day after a notice to show cause has been filed, or until the investigation is complete or ceases to be active. Provides that consumer complaints relative to such investigations remain exempt under certain, specified conditions. Identical to CS/HB 1903. Sen. Fred Dudley (R-Cape Coral)

  • S. Regulated Industries Committee: Reported favorably.

SB 814 Exemption for Clean Air Act Information: Stipulates that when the Accidental Release Prevention Program under the federal Clean Air Act allows “a stationary source” to exclude specific information from its Risk Management Plan, the owner or operator must provide such information to the State Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission upon request, and provides that the information is exempt from the Public Records Law. Also creates an exemption for any information provided to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in the process of conducting an inspection, audit, or investigation pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act. Allows the DCA to charge a fee of $1/page for copies of records. Similar to HB 3705. Sen. Buddy Dyer (D-Orlando)

  • S. Community Affairs Committee: Amended to delete the fee provision; reported favorably with the assurances of the sponsor that amendments to narrow the exemption will be considered in Senate Governmental Reform & Oversight, the bill’s next committee of reference.

97 CS/HB 901 Exemption for Employee Assistance Program Records: Creates a public records exemption for all records and communications concerning a state, municipal, or county employee’s participation in an employee substance abuse program. Nearly identical to SB 112. H. Governmental Operations; Rep. Margo Fischer (D-St. Petersburg)

  • House: Tabled; SB 112 substituted. See SB 112.

SB 952 Exemption for Eminent Domain Records: Stipulates that business records provided by the owner or onsite operator to a governmental condemning authority are exempt from the Public Records Law after the governmental authority has made a prelitigation offer. Similar to HB 3595. Sen. John Grant (R-Tampa)

  • S. Judiciary Committee: One technical amendment adopted; reported favorably.

CS/SB 1044 Public Hospital Lease: Stipulates that a private corporation leasing a public hospital or other public health care facility is not a “person acting on behalf of” the public hospital or other public health care facility for the purposes of the constitutional guarantee of access to the records and meetings of government agencies (Art. I, s. 24, Fla. Con.). Similar to CS/HB 3585; similar to SB 748. Sen. Charles Williams (D-Live Oak)

  • S. Health Care Committee: Amended to stipulate (1) that a private corporation leasing a public hospital is not subject to the Public Records Law and Sunshine Law unless the public hospital’s governing board was involved in the formation of the private corporation, or more than one third of the private corporation’s governing board are also members of the public hospital’s governing board; and (2) that any exempt private corporation is subject to the requirements of § 155.40(5), F.S., relating to accountability for the expenditure of public funds. Reported favorably as a CS (4/3).

97 CS/HB 1105 Exemption for Video-Taped Statements of Minors: Creates a public records exemption for the video-taped statements of minors who are the victims of certain, specified sexual crimes. Similar to SB 348. H. Governmental Operations; Reps. George Albright (R-Ocala); Sandy Murman (R-Tampa)

  • House: Tabled; SB 348 substituted. See SB 348.

CS/SB 1134 Rabies Vaccination Certificates: Creates a public records exemption for the name, address, and telephone number of animal owners contained in rabies vaccination certificates. Allows for disclosure only at the animal control authority, only in paper forms, only one certificate at a time, and only if the requester makes the request using the name or address of the animal owner. Similar to HB 1139. Sen. Charlie Bronson (R-Indian Harbour Beach)

  • S. Regulated Industries Committee: Amended to allow access to the list of vaccinated animals for research and statistical purposes by a bona fide news reporting organization or academic institution and to stipulate that the information obtained cannot be used for commercial purposes; reported favorably as a CS.

CS/SB 1408 Exemption for Worker’s Compensation Records: Creates a public records exemption for information revealing the identity of an individual or an “employing unit”, and any determination revealing such information. Allows disclosure only upon written authorization of the claimant, and makes the release of such information a second degree misdemeanor. No House companion. Sen. Charlie Clary (R-Destin)

  • S. Banking & Insurance Committee: Amended to stipulate that investigatory records of the Division of Workers’ Compensation are exempt until the investigation is completed or ceases to be active, unless the records would reveal certain, specified information; reported favorably as a CS.

97 CS/HB 1433 Investigations/Department Children, Families & Seniors: Deletes the current exemptions for investigative records of the Department of Children, Families and Seniors in cases involving the death of a child, a disabled adult, or an elderly person while in custodial care. Stipulates that any person may have access to such records, and that information identifying the person who reported the abuse or neglect leading to the death may not be released. Nearly identical to CS/SB 506. H. Governmental Operations; Rep. Mary Brennan (D-Pinellas Park)

  • House: Passed the House (118/0). In Senate Messages.

97 CS/HB 1437 AHCA/Provider & Subscriber Assistance Panel Records & Meetings: Creates a public records exemption for subscriber identifying information contained in records prepared or reviewed by a provider and subscriber assistance panel of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Also allows partial closure of meetings of the panel if the provider or subscriber whose grievance is to be heard requests a closed meeting and AHCA or the Department of Insurance determines that sensitive personal information, trade secret information, or information related to internal risk management programs may be revealed at the meeting. H. Health Care Standards & Regulatory Reform; Rep. Burt Saunders (R-Naples)

  • House: One technical amendment adopted; passed the House (117/0) as amended. In Senate Messages.

CS/SB 1470 Retirement Systems & Plans: Creates a public records exemption for records and other information held by a retirement system or plan for public employees relating to acquiring, hypothecating, or disposing of private placement investments. Also exempts reports and documents relating to value, offers, counteroffers, or negotiations until 30 days after completion of the transaction. No House companion. Sen. Ron Silver (D-Aventura)

  • S. Governmental Reform & Oversight Committee: Amended to specify that only trade secret, personal financial records, or confidential business information received by a retirement system or plan during the process of acquiring, hypothecating, or disposing of private placement investments is exempt; reported favorably as a CS.

97 CS/HB 1613 Exemption for Housing Assistance Records: Creates a public records 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 government housing assistance program. Allows access to such information by governmental agencies for the purpose of auditing such programs, and stipulates that the exempt information may be used by a governmental agency in any administrative or judicial proceeding. Identical to CS/SB 140. H. Governmental Operations; Rep. Mandy Dawson-White (D-Ft. Lauderdale)

  • House: Technical amendments adopted; passed the House (117/0) as amended.

CS/SB 1614 Exemption for Entertainment Industry Records: Creates a public records exemption for records of the Office of the Entertainment Industry Commissioner containing the identity, trade secrets, or information concerning plans, intentions, or interests of any private corporation, partnership, or person locating, relocating, or expanding any of its business activities in Florida, if such person requests confidentiality. The exemption expires if the information is released by the party requesting confidentiality, or, in the case of identity only, until the party retains a business location in the state. Similar to HB 4125. Sen. Katherine Harris (R-Sarasota)

  • S. Commerce Committee: Amended to expand the application of the exemption to not only the Office of the Entertainment Industry Commissioner, but also the Entertainment Florida Council or other entity authorized to perform the functions of the council; reported favorably as a CS.

97 CS/CS/HB 1639 Exemption for Domestic Violence Records: Creates a public records exemption for the addresses, telephone numbers, and social security numbers of participants in the Address Confidentiality Program for Victims of Domestic Violence. Allows release of the exempt information under certain, specified circumstances. Similar to SB 116. H. Law Enforcement & Public Safety; Rep. Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville)

  • House: Passed the House (116/0). In Senate Messages.

97 CS/HB 1849 Exemption for Foster Care Licensees: Creates a public records exemption for certain, specified information contained in a foster family licensing file, including home, business and school addresses; telephone numbers; social security numbers; and any identifying information in neighbor references. The exemption also applies to foster parents who become adoptive parents. Nearly identical to SB 108. H. Children & Family Empowerment; Reps. Carlos Lacasa (R-Miami); Rep. Sandy Murman (R-Tampa)

  • House: Passed the House (115/0). In Senate Messages.

97 CS/HB 1887 Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association: Stipulates that the Florida Automobile JUA is subject to the Public Records Law and the Open Meetings Law. Creates public records exemptions for underwriting files; claims files, until termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims; records obtained or generated by an internal auditor; attorney-client communications; proprietary information; association employee medical information; records concerning employee participation in substance abuse programs; information relating to certain negotiations; and minutes of closed meetings until a time specified. Also creates an exemption for portions of meetings during which confidential underwriting files or confidential open claims files are discussed, but stipulates that closed portions of meetings must be recorded by a court reporter, and that the transcript of the closed portion of the meeting becomes public after settlement of the claim. Nearly identical to SB 746. H. Governmental Operations; Rep. Randy Ball (R-Titusville)

  • House: Passed the House (113/0). In Senate Messages.

97 CS/HB 1903 Investigations/Florida Land Sales Division: Stipulates that information relative to an investigation by the Florida Land Sales Division is exempt from the Public Records Law until 10 day after a notice to show cause has been filed, or until the investigation is complete or ceases to be active. Provides that consumer complaints relative to such investigations remain exempt under certain, specified conditions. Identical to SB 806. H. Governmental Operations; H. Real Property & Probate; Rep. Larry Crow (R-Dunedin)

  • House: Passed the House (114/0). In Senate Messages.

HB 3705 Exemption for Clean Air Act Information: Stipulates that when the Accidental Release Prevention Program under the federal Clean Air Act allows “a stationary source” to exclude specific information from its Risk Management Plan, the owner or operator must provide such information to the State Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission upon request, and provides that the information is exempt from the Public Records Law. Also creates an exemption for any information provided to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in the process of conducting an inspection, audit, or investigation pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act. Allows the DCA to charge a fee of $1/page. Similar to SB 814. Rep. Lori Edwards (D-Auburndale)

  • H. Environmental Protection Committee: Amended to delete fee provision; other, minor amendments adopted; reported favorably as a CS.

HB 3887 Exemption for Child Abuse and Neglect Records: Creates a public records exemption for records relating to child abandonment by expanding the current exemption in § 415.51, F.S., for all records of the Department of Children, Families and Seniors concerning child abuse or neglect. Also stipulates that, except for information identifying individuals, all records involving the death of a child determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect shall be released to the public within 10 days of the completion of the investigation. No Senate companion. Rep. Evelyn Lynn (R-Ormond Beach)

  • H. Family Law & Children Committee: One technical amendment adopted; reported favorably.

NEW BILLS FILED

HEALTH CARE INFORMATION and HOSPITAL RECORDS

SB 2236 Mental Health Records & Meetings: Creates a public records exemption for (1) background screening of direct-care employees in mental health partial hospitalization programs; and (2) records relating to quality assurance programs and records obtained by the Agency for Health Care Administration in determining compliance with those programs. Also creates an exemption for portions of meetings of quality assurance program committees relating to compliance. No House companion. Sen. Ron Klein (D-Delray Beach)

? ALTHOUGH WE’RE NOT REALLY CRAZY ABOUT THE RASH OF EXEMPTIONS FOR BACKGROUND SCREENING CHECKS OF EMPLOYEES, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF SUCH EXEMPTIONS ALREADY IN EXISTENCE. THE EXEMPTION FOR RECORDS RELATING TO COMPLIANCE WITH QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAMS MAY BE PROBLEMATIC IN THAT IT DOES NOT ALLOW FOR PUBLIC OVERSIGHT, AND THE MEETINGS EXEMPTION DOES NOT ALLOW FOR A TRANSCRIPT TO BE MADE OF THE CLOSED PORTIONS.

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