1999 Legislative Report for Period Ending March 12

Symbol Meaning
Current action
CS Committee Substitute
P Passed both Chambers
W Withdrawn from further consideration

For Period Ending: March 12

HB 219 Exemption for Guardianship Office Records: Creates two Public Records Law exemptions: (1) any medical, financial, or mental health records necessary to evaluate the public guardianship system; and (2) all medical, financial, or mental health records of elderly persons, disabled adults, or the mentally ill held by the Statewide Public Guardianship Office. Similar to CS/SB 704. Rep. Larry Crow (R-Dunedin)

  • H. Real Property & Probate: Amended to stipulate that medical, financial, or mental health records held by an agency necessary to evaluate the public guardianship system shall be provided to the Statewide Public Guardianship Office; reported favorably as a committee substitute.

w HB 491 Litigation Settlements: Requires cities and counties to provide notice of any tort claim settlement in excess of $5,000 within 60 days of the settlement. (Amends § 69.081, F.S., the Sunshine in Litigation Act.) Also repeals § 164.106, F.S., requiring cities and counties to hold public hearings on the terms of any proposed settlement in excess of $5,000. No Senate companion. Rep. Randy Ball (R-Titusville)

  • Withdrawn from further consideration.

SB 928 State Child Abuse Death Review Committee: Creates three exemptions: (1) all reports and records of the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee or local committee relating solely to child fatalities and which discuss specific persons or incidents; (2) all information and records acquired by the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee or local committee; and (3) portions of meetings or proceedings of the Committee or local committee relating to child fatalities, during which specific persons or incidents are discussed. No House companion. Sen. Anna Cowin (R-Leesburg)

  • S. Children & Families: Amended to exempt only information that would identify any of the deceased’s surviving siblings, family members, or others living in the home in reports or records created by the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee; reported favorably.

SB 1012 Public Hospitals/Written Strategic Plans Exemption: Creates an exemption for a public hospital’s written strategic plans and for the meetings of a public hospital’s board of directors at which such plans are discussed. Defines the term “written strategic plan” to include: initiate or acquire a new health service; expand an existing health service; acquire additional facilities; expand existing facilities; change the use of an existing or newly acquired facility; acquire, merge, or consolidate with another facility or provider; enter into a shared service arrangement; enter into or terminate a joint venture or transaction; or any combination of the above. Stipulates that “written strategic plan” does not include records describing existing operations, and that a public hospital may not approve a binding agreement to sell, lease, merge, or consolidate at a closed meeting. Similar to HB 357. Sen. Lisa Carlton (R-Osprey)

  • S. Health, Aging & Long-Term Care: Amended to (1) stipulate that a strategic plan, the disclosure of which could be used by a competitor to frustrate, circumvent, or exploit the purpose of the plan before it is implemented and which is not otherwise known or discoverable, is exempt from public access; (2) define “existing operations” as the hiring of employees, the purchase of equipment, the placement of advertisements, and entering into contracts with physicians to perform medical services; and (3) stipulate that if the governing board closes a meeting to discuss a written strategic plan, then the board must hold a public meeting prior to placing the strategic plan into operation. Does not change the definition of “strategic plan”. Reported favorably as a CS.

w SB 1342 Domestic Violence/Unemployment Compensation: Creates an exemption for all records and evidence of domestic violence experienced by an employee who has applied for unemployment compensation benefits with the Division of Unemployment Compensation. No House companion. Sen. Richard Miller (D-Jasper)

  • Withdrawn from further consideration.

SB 1498 Exemption for Health Care Employees: Creates a public records exemption for the home address, telephone number, social security number, and photograph of active or former employees of any health care facility or rural hospital and their spouses and children. Virtually identical to HB 1081. Sen. Burt Saunders (R-Cape Coral)

  • S. Health, Aging & Long-Term Care: Amended to limit the exemption to employees of public hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers; reported favorably as a CS.

NEW BILLS FILED

COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS RECORDS

HB 1461 Lottery Department Exemption: Creates public records exemptions for the following information obtained by the Lottery Department: (1) trade secrets; (2) security measures, systems, or procedures; (3) security reports; (4) bids or other contractual data; (5) employee personnel information unrelated to compensation, duties, qualifications, or responsibilities; (6) investigative information obtained by the Division of Security; and (7) the street address and telephone number of video lottery game winners. Similar to SB 2178. Rep. Dave Bitner (R-Port Charlotte)

SB 2178 Lottery Department Exemption: Virtually identical to HB 1461. Sen. Ron Silver (D-North Miami)

🙁 WE HAVE TO WONDER WHETHER OUR LEGISLATURE UNDERSTANDS THE MEANING OF THE WORD “SINGLE,” AS IN, THE “SINGLE” SUBJECT REQUIREMENT IN ART. I, S. 24, OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION. THE EXEMPTIONS IN THIS BILL FOR TRADE SECRET AND SECURITY INFORMATION MAY BE JUSTIFIED; HOWEVER, THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PERSONNEL EXEMPTION, AND WITH ALL THE TROUBLE WITH LOTTERY DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS, WE HAVE TO QUESTION THE PUBLIC POLICY CONCERNS IN MAKING BIDS AND CONTRACTUAL DATA EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE.

SB 1764 International Trade & Economic Development Data: Expresses the intent to create a public records exemption for certain international trade and economic development data. No House companion. Sen. George Kirkpatrick (R-Gainesville)

? THIS IS CALLED A “SHELL” BILL—A BILL FILED IN ORDER TO MEET THE FILING DEADLINE. THERE WILL BE A LATER AMENDMENT CREATING THE ACTUAL EXEMPTION.

SB 1766 Exemption for Entertainment Industry Records: Creates an exemption from the Public Records Law for certain information held by the Office of the Film Commissioner. Specifically, the bill stipulates that, upon written request by an entertainment industry private corporation, partnership, or person seeking to locate, relocate, or expand any of its business activities in Florida, regarding the identity, trade secrets, or plans, intentions, or interests of the private corporation, partnership, or person is exempt from public disclosure unless the party seeking confidentiality releases such information or until the party retains a new or additional business location in Florida. Identical to HB 839. Similar to SB 1928. Sen. George Kirkpatrick (R-Gainesville)

SB 1928 Exemption for Entertainment Industry Records: Virtually identical to HB 839 and SB 1928. Sen. Ron Silver (D-North Miami)

? THE BILL STATES THAT THIS LEGISLATION IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS COMMON TO THE PRE-PRODUCTION STAGE OF AN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY BUSINESS VENTURE WHICH OCCUR PRIOR TO RETAINING A BUSINESS LOCATION IN THE STATE. SIMILAR TO OTHER EXEMPTIONS FOR BUSINESSES SEEKING TO RELOCATE TO FLORIDA, THIS BILL SEEMS TO BE NARROWLY DRAFTED, AND IS LIMITED IN DURATION.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE and LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION

HB 1645 State Child Death Review Team Exemptions: Creates three exemptions: (1) all reports and records of the State Child Death Review Team or local team relating solely to child deaths and which discuss specific persons or incidents; (2) all information and records acquired by the State Child Death Review Team or local team; and (3) portions of meetings or proceedings of the Team or local team relating to child fatalities, during which specific persons or incidents are discussed. Stipulates that a violation of the exemption is a first degree misdemeanor. Similar to SB 1408. H. Health Care Services Committee

🙁 THE STATED PURPOSE OF THIS LEGISLATION IS TO PREVENT DISCLOSURE OF SENSITIVE, PERSONAL INFORMATION CONCERNING CHILDREN, AND TO ENCOURAGE COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION AMONG THE PARTIES INVOLVED. HOWEVER, AS DRAFTED, THIS BILL PROTECTS THE IDENTITY OF ALL PERSONS, NOT JUST CHILDREN, AND CREATES A SECOND EXEMPTION FOR ALL RECORDS OBTAINED BY THE STATE CHILD DEATH REVIEW TEAM. PRESUMABLY, THE COMMITTEE IS REVIEWING THE DEATH OF CHILDREN FROM ABUSE, AND GOOD PUBLIC POLICY REQUIRES AS MUCH “SUNSHINE” AS POSSIBLE ON A PROBLEM THAT HAS RECEIVED NATIONAL ATTENTION. THE BILL IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OVERBROAD.

HEALTH CARE INFORMATION and HOSPITAL RECORDS

SB 1810 Exemption for EMTs and Paramedics: Creates five public records exemptions: (1) all information received by the Department of Health (DOH) alleging impairment on the part of an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic against whom no other complaint has been filed; (2) all information received by DOH concerning an EMT’s or paramedic’s enrollment in, progress through, and completion of an impairment treatment program; (3) information identifying students enrolled in EMT or paramedic education courses; (4) a complaint against an emergency medical services licensee and all information obtained in an investigation of the complaint by DOH until 10 days after probable cause has been found or until the licensee under investigation waives confidentiality; and (5) information released to an emergency medical services licensee by a hospital about a hospital patient who was transported or treated by the licensee. Identical to HB 1433. Sen. Skip Campbell

🙁 IN ADDITION TO THE FACT THAT THIS BILL MOST LIKELY VIOLATES THE SINGLE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT IN ART. I, S. 24, OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF SUBSTANTIVE CONCERNS WITH THE VARIOUS EXEMPTIONS. THE PATIENT INFORMATION EXEMPTION IS UNDERSTANDABLE AND JUSTIFIABLE, AND THE EXEMPTION FOR INVESTIGATIONS OF COMPLAINTS AGAINST EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE LICENSEES IS SUFFICIENTLY JUSTIFIED AND NARROW. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO OBVIOUS JUSTIFICATION FOR THE EXEMPTIONS REGARDING THE ALLEGED IMPAIRMENT OF AN EMT, OR INFORMATION IDENTIFYING STUDENTS ENROLLED IN EMT COURSES. PARTS OF THIS BILL RAISE SERIOUS PUBLIC POLICY ISSUES.

SB 1824 Adverse Incident Exemption: Creates a public records exemption for information contained in a notice of adverse incident submitted to the Department of Health. Also stipulates that the information may not be made publicly available as part of any investigation record. No House companion. Sen. Skip Campbell

🙁 THE CONSTITUTIONALLY REQUIRED STATEMENT OF PUBLIC NECESSITY PROVIDES THAT THE PURPOSE OF THIS LEGISLATION IS TO PROTECT INFORMATION ABOUT THE IDENTITY OF PATIENTS CONTAINED IN NOTICES OF ADVERSE INCIDENTS. THE LEGISLATION EXEMPTS ALL INFORMATION IN THE NOTICE, AN EXEMPTION FAR BROADER THAN THE STATED PURPOSE, VIOLATING THE REQUIREMENT BE NO BROADER THAN THE STATED PURPOSE. HOWEVER, NEARLY IDENTICAL LEGISLATION EXEMPTING SUCH REPORTS SUBMITTED TO THE AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION PASSED LAST YEAR, AND THE CHANCES OF AMENDING THIS BILL TO COMPLY WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS ARE SLIM.

INSURANCE INFORMATION

SB 1828 Health Information Privacy: Requires insurance carriers to limit disclosure of health information if an individual clearly states in writing that disclosure of such information could jeopardize the individual’s safety. Also requires insurance carriers to disclose health information pursuant to a subpoena or court order issued after a court’s determination that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the individual’s privacy interest and that the information is not otherwise reasonably available. Similar to SB 1828. Sen. Richard Mitchell (D-Jasper)

THIS BILL DOES NOT EFFECT THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS.

SB 2194 State Group Insurance Division Exemptions: Creates a public records exemption for documents submitted by insurers, health maintenance organizations, and others in response to a competitive procurement by the State Group Insurance Division for employee-benefit related plans and programs until such time as the Division has concluded its negotiations and has issued a contract. Also exempts portions of meetings at which responses to the competitive procurement process are discussed. No House companion. Sen. Pat Thomas (D-Tallahassee)

THIS LEGISLATION, CREATING A LIMITED EXEMPTION TO THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS, COMPLIES WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CREATING NEW EXEMPTIONS.

INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION

SB 2330 Complaints/Fair Housing Practices: Creates a public records exemption for all complaints filed with the Florida Commission on Human Rights and all records and documents in the custody of the commission which relate to and identify the complainant or an alleged violator in a complaint alleging unfair housing practices. Sen. Daryl Jones (D-Miami)

🙁 EXEMPTING INFORMATION IDENTIFYING A COMPLAINANT MAYBE JUSTIFIED, BUT WHY PROTECT THE IDENTITY OF SOMEONE WHO MAY HAVE VIOLATED THE LAW? IN ADDITION, THE BILL, AS DRAFTED, IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OVERBROAD IN THAT IT EXEMPTS THE ENTIRE RECORD RATHER THAN THE IDENTIFYING INFORMATION.

LITIGATION

SB 1838 Public Meetings/Litigation Exemption: Expands the current exemption in § 286.011, F.S., for meetings of public agencies held to discuss pending litigation, to allow: (1) additional people to attend the closed meeting; (2) discussion of settlement negotiations and strategy related to litigation; and (3) closure to discuss imminent litigation. In addition, stipulates that (1) a violation is a noncriminal infraction, subjecting the offending agency to a fine of not more than $500; (2) the exemption shall be liberally construed to “effectuate the intent of providing for attorney-client sessions; and (3) a good-faith attempt to comply constitutes a complete defense to any challenge. Also deletes the requirement that the public notice provide the names of the persons attending the closed session, and adds a definition of the phrase, “conclusion of the litigation.” No House companion. Sen. W.D. Childers (R-Pensacola)

🙁 IT’S DIFFICULT TO EXPRESS JUST HOW BAD THIS LEGISLATION IS. THE LITIGATION EXEMPTION IN § 286.011, F.S., IS, WITHOUT DOUBT, THE MOST ABUSED EXEMPTION OF ALL 700+ EXEMPTIONS, AND UNDER THIS BILL, THE POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE WILL INCREASE EXPONENTIALLY. AND WHAT WILL GOVERNMENT GET IN RETURN FOR VIOLATING THE LAW? A $500 FINE. EVEN IF THE VIOLATION WAS INTENTIONAL. WHY NOT SIMPLY REPEAL THE SUNSHINE LAW?

PERSONAL INFORMATION

HB 1485 Exemption for Pregnant Minors: Creates a public records exemption for court records that might identify a pregnant minor who petitions the court for a waiver of the notice requirements pertaining to her request to have her pregnancy terminated. Also stipulates that all such court proceedings shall be sealed. Identical to SB 1596. Rep. Sandra Murman (R-Tampa)

🙁 A COMPANION TO LEGISLATION CREATING THE “PARENTAL NOTICE OF ABORTION ACT,” THE STATED PURPOSE OF HB 1485 IS TO PROTECT A PREGNANT MINOR FROM RETRIBUTION FROM A PARENT OR GUARDIAN. AS DRAFTED, HOWEVER, THE BILL EXEMPTS ALL RECORDS THAT MIGHT IDENTIFY THE PREGNANT MINOR, AND MAY BE UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OVERBROAD.

HB 1531 Exemption for College Savings Program: Creates a public records exemption for information identifying the benefactor or designated beneficiary of a Florida College Savings Program. Also exempts information regarding individual account activities. Identical to SB 1980. Rep. Paula Bono Dockery (R-Lakeland)

SB 1980 Exemption for College Savings Program: Identical to HB 1531. Sen. Buddy Dyer (D-Orlando)

THIS LEGISLATION, CREATING A LIMITED EXEMPTION TO THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS, COMPLIES WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CREATING NEW EXEMPTIONS.

SB 1898 Sale of Driver’s Photos: Repeals the provision enacted last year allowing the sale of driver’s license photographs. Identical to HB 1015. Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Brooksville)

THIS LEGISLATION UNDOES WHAT THE LEGISLATURE DID LAST YEAR—ALLOW FOR THE SALE OF DRIVER’S LICENSE PHOTOS FOR USE BY A COMPANY DEVELOPING ANTI-CHECK FRAUD TECHNOLOGY. INTERESTINGLY, DRIVER’S PHOTOS ARE EXEMPT FROM PUBLIC DISCLOSURE. THE BILL DOES NOT EFFECT THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS.

SB 1998 Social Security Numbers/Motor Vehicle Records: Prohibits the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) from releasing social security contained in the motor vehicle records of those who have opted-out of the public record as part of the personal information provided to direct marketers. Also repeals the provision enacted last year allowing the sale of driver’s license photographs. No House companion. Sen. Anna Cowin (R-Leesburg)

UNDER CURRENT LAW, A DRIVER IS ALLOWED TO “OPT-OUT” OF THE PUBLIC RECORDS LAW, IN EFFECT CLOSING PUBLIC ACCESS TO HIS/HER MOTOR VEHICLE RECORDS. HOWEVER, THERE ARE ABOUT 14 OR 15 EXCEPTIONS TO THE OPT-OUT PROVISION, ALLOWING ACCESS TO THOSE CLOSED RECORDS BY INSURANCE COMPANIES, TOW-TRUCK OPERATORS, PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS, DIRECT MARKETERS, ETC. THE BILL WOULD PROHIBIT THE PROVISION OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS TO DIRECT MARKETS. IT DOES NOT EFFECT THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS.

SB 2110 Exemption for Motor Vehicle Records: Creates a Public Records Law exemption for all personally identifying information in motor vehicle records, amending the current provision in § 119.07(3)(bb), F.S., which requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to delete personal information in motor vehicle records only upon the written request of the subject of the record. Allows for access to the exempt information by private investigators, direct marketers, tow truck operators, rental car companies, insurance companies, law enforcement officers, employers, etc. Identical to HB 43. Sen. Burt Saunders (R-Cape Coral)

🙁 THE STATED PURPOSE OF THIS LAW IS TO PREVENT INDIVIDUALS FROM OBTAINING PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR MALICIOUS PURPOSES. HOWEVER, SB 2110 CLOSES ACCESS TO ALL MOTOR VEHICLE RECORDS, REGARDLESS OF THE “PURPOSE” OF THE REQUEST. IN CLOSING ACCESS TO ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION IN ALL MOTOR VEHICLE RECORDS, THE BILL IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OVERBROAD, VIOLATING THE STANDARD FOR THE CREATION OF NEW EXEMPTIONS FOUND IN ART. I, S. 24, OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION.

SCHOOL BOARDS

SB 2036 School Boards/Acquisition of Property: Amends the public records exemption for appraisals, offers, or counteroffers for the purchase of property by a school board to stipulate that the appraisals, offers, or counteroffers are exempt until a contract for the purchase is presented to the board for approval at a public meeting. Stipulates that such contracts must be considered and approved in a public meetings. Creates a public meetings exemption, allowing the school board, the superintendent, and “appropriate” staff to close meetings to discuss pending negotiation concerning the proposed purchase, provided that: (1) the subject matter of the closed session is confined to the proposed purpose or related strategy sessions; (2) reasonable notice of the closed meeting is provided; and (3) the closed session is recorded. No House companion. Sen. Ron Silver (D-North Miami)

🙁 WHY IS A SCHOOL BOARD’S PURCHASE OF PROPERTY FOR EDUCATION PURPOSES MORE “SENSITIVE” THAN ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITY’S PURCHASE OF PROPERTY? UNDER CURRENT LAW, A SCHOOL BOARD—OR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY—CAN CLOSE DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO THE PURCHASE OF THE PROPERTY UNTIL AN OPTION CONTRACT IS SUBMITTED FOR APPROVAL. THE REQUIRED STATEMENT OF NECESSITY SAYS THE PROPOSED EXEMPTION IS “NOT AN UNFAIR BURDEN ON THE PUBLIC BECAUSE THE [BILL] REQUIRES ANY FINAL ACTION TAKEN BY THE SCHOOL BOARD MUST BE AT A PUBLIC MEETING WITH FULL PUBLIC DISCLOSURE.” OUR CONSTITUTION GIVES US THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ENTIRE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS, NOT JUST FINAL ACTION. THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS EXEMPTION, AND IT WILL, UNDOUBTEDLY, SET A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT.

SOCIAL SERVICES

HB 1575 Cash Assistance Programs/Records & Meetings: Creates an exemption for any meeting held by the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Labor and Employment Security, the Department of Health, the Department of Revenue, the WAGES Program State Board of Directors, or service providers under contract to any of the above, at which information is discussed which identifies individuals. Stipulates that the exemption is required by federal law. Also creates a public records exemption for identifying information in records acquired by the above listed agencies and service providers. Provides for release of the exempt information under certain, specified circumstances. No Senate companion. Rep. Sandra Murman (R-Tampa)

THIS LEGISLATION, CREATING A LIMITED EXEMPTION TO THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS, APPEARS TO COMPLY WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CREATING NEW EXEMPTIONS.

————*————

Well, it’s time once again to identify our priorities for the 1999 Session. You’ll notice that the Priority Support List is woefully thin, while the Priority Oppose List is fatter than ever.

SUPPORT

  1. HB 517 Private Corporations/Public Hospitals
    Rep. Charles Sembler, R-Vero Beach
  2. CS/HB 49 and SB 286, Criminal Use of Personal Identifying Information
    Rep. Allen Trovillion, R-Winter Park; Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac

OPPOSE

  1. SB 1838 Public Meetings/Litigation Exemption
    Sen. W.D. Childers (R-Pensacola)
  2. HB 51, Proof of Identification
    Rep. Sally Heyman (D-North Miami Beach)
  3. HB 43 and SB 2210, Motor Vehicle Records
    Rep. Lindsay Harrington, R-Punta Gorda; Sen. Burt Saunders (R-Cape Coral)
  4. SB 2036, School Boards/Property Acquisition
    Sen. Ron Silver (D-North Miami)
  5. HB 357 and SB 1012, Written Strategic Plans
    Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey; Sen. Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey
  6. SB 1302, Insurance Records Exemption
    Sen. Steven Geller, D-Hallandale
    NOTE: Senator Geller is working on an amendment to this bill.
  7. HB 1081 and SB 1498, Health Care Employees
    Rep. J. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples; Sen. Burt Saunders (R-Cape Coral)
  8. SB 1718, City Human Resource Practitioners
    Sen. Ron Silver (D-North Miami)

There were a number of bills considered by various legislative committees on Thursday, March 11, that are not included in this report. Those bills are:

HB 43, Motor Vehicle Records Exemption
HB 839, Entertainment Industry Records Exemption
HB 1015, Sale of Driver’s Licence Photos
HB 1081, Health Care Employees Exemption

Details of action taken on these bills will be included in next week’s report. However, if you’d like information before next week, or if you have any questions concerning any other bills, please call Barbara Petersen at (800) 337-3518, or (850) 222-3518.

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