1998 Legislative Report for Period Ending March 27

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W Withdrawn from further consideration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 27

SB 150 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. Provides that the qualified privilege applies upon demonstration by affidavit or other competent evidence that a professional journalist was engaged in gathering news when receiving the information at issue. Similar to CS/HB 71. Sen. Don Sullivan (R-Seminole)

  • S. Governmental Reform Committee: Amended to include a provision that deletes the public records exemption for pre- and post-sentence investigative reports; reported favorably with one amendment.

97 CS/HB 1197 Investigations/DBPR and DOH: Currently, investigations into complaints against licensed professionals by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Department of Health (DOH) become public record only if there is a finding of probable cause. This bill allows access to the investigative records by the complainant and members of the Legislature once the investigation is complete or no longer active. Similar to SB 1286. H. Business Regulation & Consumer Affairs; Rep. Bill Sublette (R-Orlando)

  • H. Health Care Standards & Regulatory Reform Committee: Unfavorable; laid on table. NOTE: The action by the committee kills the bill for the 1998 legislative session.

CS/SB 1230 Florida Kids Health Program Exemption: Creates a public records exemption for any information contained in an application for determination of eligibility for the Florida Kids Health Program that would identify the applicants, including medical information and family financial information, and for any information obtained through quality assurance activities and patient satisfaction surveys which identifies program participants. No House companion. Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Brooksville)

  • S. Health Care Committee: Two technical amendments adopted; reported favorably as a CS.

SB 1738 Exemption for Florida Graduates Program: Creates a public records exemption for the identity of donors to the Florida Graduates Program who desire to remain anonymous. Nearly identical to HB 1945. Sen. Jim Horne (R-Orange Park)

  • S. Education Committee: One technical amendment adopted; reported favorably with one amendment.

97 HB 1939 Debit & Credit Card Numbers: Creates a public records exemption for bank account numbers and debit, charge, and credit card numbers in the possession of governmental agencies. No Senate companion. H. Governmental Operations; Rep. Bill Posey (R-Rockledge)

  • House: One technical amendment adopted; passed the House as amended (119/0). In Senate Messages.

97 HB 1945 Exemption for Florida Graduates Program: Creates a public records exemption for the identity of donors to the Florida Graduates Program who desire to remain anonymous. No Senate companion. H. Education Innovation; Rep. Jerry Melvin (R-Ft. Walton Beach)

  • House: One technical amendment adopted; passed the House as amended [118/1 (Rep. Harry Goode, D-Melbourne, voting no)]. In Senate Messages.

HB 3737 Public Notification/Sexual Predators: Stipulates that within 48 hours of receiving notice of the temporary or permanent residence of a sexual predator in the community, the sheriff or chief of police must notify all day care centers, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools within the proximity of the sexual predator’s residence. Identical to SB 1776. Rep. Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville)

  • H. Law Enforcement & Public Safety Committee: Reported favorably.

HB 3925 Exemption for Guardianship Office Records: Stipulates that any confidential or exempt information provided to the Statewide Public Guardianship Office shall remain confidential and exempt. Also creates a public records exemption for an individual’s medical, financial, or mental health records, providing that such records may not be publicly disclosed in such a manner so as to identify the individual. Identical to SB 1180. H. Real Property & Probate; Rep. Larry Crow (R-Dunedin)

  • H. Elder Affairs & Long Term Care Committee: One technical amendment adopted; reported favorably.

NEW BILLS FILED

HEALTH CARE INFORMATION and HOSPITAL RECORDS

HB 4301 Confidentiality of Medical Records: Provides that health, medical, patient, and insurance records are confidential pursuant to the privacy provision in Florida’s Constitution (Art. I, s. 23), and that access to such records will be granted only upon the written consent of the person to whom the record pertains, or by court order. Identical to CS/SB 260. Rep. Elaine Bloom (D-Miami Beach)

🙁 THIS BILL ATTEMPTS TO CREATE A RIGHT TO PRIVACY AS REGARDS MEDICAL RECORDS IN THE HANDS OF PRIVATE PERSONS OR CORPORATIONS PURSUANT TO THE PRIVACY PROVISION IN THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION, ALLOWING US TO BE FREE FROM GOVERNMENTAL INTRUSION INTO OUR PRIVATE LIVES. HB 4301 WOULD ALLOW PROTECTION FROM NONGOVERNMENTAL INTRUSION, AND IS THUS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

HB 4339 Exemption for Medical Information: Creates a public records exemption for “any information pertaining to a natural person” contained in health, medical, patient, or health insurance records, stipulating that such information may be disclosed only upon the written consent of the person, or upon court order. Also creates an exemption for those portions of meetings during which such exempt information is to be discussed, unless the person has given written consent for public discussion, or upon court order. Identical to CS/SB 364. Rep. Elaine Bloom (D-Miami Beach)

🙁 THE STATED PURPOSE OF THIS BILL IS TO PROTECT PATIENT IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, YET THE BILL EXEMPTS “ANY INFORMATION PERTAINING TO A NATURAL PERSON.” THAT WOULD EXEMPT NOT ONLY PATIENT IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, BUT ALSO INFORMATION IDENTIFYING DOCTORS AND OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS. HB 4339 IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OVERBROAD.

INSURANCE INFORMATION

SB 2530 Exemption for Insurance Audits: Creates a public records exemption for certain documents submitted to the Department of Insurance in response to a voluntary internal evaluation or audit conducted by an insurance company. No House companion. Sen. Betty Holzendorf (D-Jacksonville)

ON ITS FACE, THIS BILL APPEARS TO BE PROBLEMATIC IN THAT IT WOULD EXEMPT INFORMATION CLEARLY IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. HOWEVER, WE ARE RESERVING JUDGMENT UNTIL WE CAN GET MORE SUBSTANTIVE INFORMATION.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

HB 4385 Florida Partnership for Children First: Creates a public records exemption for information identifying a child or a child’s family obtained by the Florida Partnership for Children First; allows release of such information upon written consent of the child’s parent or guardian. No Senate companion. Rep. Cynthia Chestnut (D-Gainesville)

THIS NEW EXEMPTION IS NARROWLY TAILORED AND ALLOWS RELEASE OF THE EXEMPT INFORMATION UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; IT MEETS THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW EXEMPTIONS UNDER ART. I, S. 24, OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION.

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