1999 Legislative Report for Period Ending March 5

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W Withdrawn from further consideration

For Period Ending: March 5

HB 193 Disclosure of Public Employee Information: Stipulates that any exempt address, telephone number, and social security number of a public employee must be disclosed to the employee’s certified bargaining agent. Requires the bargaining agent to maintain the exempt status of the information. No Senate companion. Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee)

  • H. Business Development & International Trade: Reported favorably.

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. Identical to SB 704. Rep. Larry Crow (R-Dunedin)

  • H. Elder Affairs & Long-Term Care: Minor amendment adopted; reported favorably.

HB 357 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 SB 1012. Rep. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey)

  • H. Community Affairs: Amended to (1) 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 (2) 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; reported favorably.

HB 391 On-line Access to Criminal Records: Requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to provide all offices of the Public Defender with on-line access to non-exempt criminal records, stipulating that the public defenders must pay for the cost of such access. Identical to SB 730. H. Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention Committee

  • H. Judiciary: Reported favorably.

CS/SB 704 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. Identical to HB 219. Sen. Howard Forman (D-Cooper City)

  • S. Health, Aging, & Long-Term Care: Amended to create a third exemption for any information obtained by the Statewide Public Guardianship Office as a result of an investigation of a guardian’s credit history, or an investigatory check by the National Crime Information Center, or the Florida Crime Information Center; reported favorably as a committee substitute.

SB 730 On-line Access to Criminal Records: Requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to provide all offices of the Public Defender with on-line access to non-exempt criminal records, stipulating that the public defenders must pay for the cost of such access. Identical to HB 391. Sen. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami)

  • S. Criminal Justice: Reported favorably.

NEW BILLS FILED

GENERAL

SB 1062 Ex Parte Communications: Allows ex parte communications between a legislator and a member of the Public Service Commission (PSC). Also allows members of the Legislature to address the PSC at any scheduled and noticed public meeting. House Companion: HB 159. Sen. Betty Holzendorf (D-Jacksonville)

? THIS IS AN ODD ONE, AND THERE’S NO STATEMENT OF NECESSITY IN THE BILL TO HELP US UNDERSTAND THE SPONSOR’S INTENT OR PURPOSE. WORTH KEEPING AN EYE ON.

HEALTH CARE INFORMATION and HOSPITAL RECORDS

HB 1433 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. No Senate companion. Rep. Bob Casey (R-Gainesville)

🙁 WHEW. IN ADDITION TO THE FACT THAT THIS BILL MOST LIKELY VIOLATES THE SINGLE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT IN ARTICLE I, SECTION 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.

LITIGATION

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)

🙁 UNDER CURRENT LAW, A CITY OR COUNTY ENTERING INTO A SETTLEMENT IN EXCESS OF $5,000 MUST HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT. THIS BILL DELETES THE PUBLIC HEARING REQUIREMENT, REQUIRING INSTEAD THAT THE CITY OR COUNTY PROVIDE NOTICE WITHIN 60 DAYS OF THE SETTLEMENT. SO, CONCEIVABLY, NOTICE COULD BE PROVIDED AFTER THE FACT, AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE BILL STIPULATING WHAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE REQUIRED NOTICE.

NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

HB 1133 Water Management District Meetings/Notice: Requires water management districts to publish notice of all regular meetings quarterly, semi-annually, or annually in a newspaper of general paid circulation rather than in the Florida Administrative Weekly. Stipulates that notice of other meetings be provided at least 7 days prior to such meetings. No Senate companion. Rep. Addie Greene (D-West Palm Beach)

BY REQUIRING PUBLICATION OF NOTICE IN A LOCAL NEWSPAPER RATHER THAN THE FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE WEEKLY, THIS LEGISLATION SHOULD IMPROVE THE PUBLIC’S ABILITY TO OVERSEE WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS. THE BILL DOES NOT EFFECT THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

HB 1015 Sale of Driver’s Photos: Repeals the provision enacted last year allowing the sale of driver’s license photographs. No Senate companion. Rep. Tom Feeney

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.

HB 1081 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. Similar to SB 1498. Rep. J. Dudley Goodlette (R-Naples)

SB 1498 Exemption for Health Care Employees: Virtually identical to HB 1081. Sen. Burt Saunders (R-Cape Coral)

🙁 THE STATED PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION IS TO PROTECT HEALTH CARE WORKERS FROM THREATS MADE BY PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES WHO MAY BE DISSATISFIED WITH THE QUALITY OF CARE RECEIVED. HOWEVER, AS DRAFTED, THE BILL PROTECTS ALL EMPLOYEES, NOT JUST THOSE WHO COME IN CONTACT WITH PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

SB 1596 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. No House companion. Sen. Charlie Bronson (R-Indian Harbour Beach)

🙁 A COMPANION TO LEGISLATION CREATING THE “PARENTAL NOTICE OF ABORTION ACT,” THE STATED PURPOSE OF SB 1596 IS TO PROTECT THE 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.

SB 1714 Disclosure of Public Employee Information: Stipulates that any exempt address, telephone number, and social security number of a public employee must be disclosed to the employee’s certified bargaining agent. Requires the bargaining agent to maintain the exempt status of the information. Identical to HB 193. Sen. Jim Hargrett (D-Tampa)

THE LEGISLATIVE STAFF ANALYSIS FOR COMPANION BILL HB 193 NOTES THAT ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION WILL FACILITATE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE BARGAINING AGENT AND THE REPRESENTED PUBLIC EMPLOYEE WITHOUT JEOPARDIZING THE CONFIDENTIAL STATUS OF THE INFORMATION. DOES NOT EFFECT THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS.

SB 1718 Exemption for Municipal Human Resources Practitioners: Creates a public records exemption for the home addresses and telephone numbers of municipal human resources practitioners who make decisions affecting employment actions. No House companion. Sen. Ron Silver (D-North Miami)

🙁 THIS BILL ADDS TO THE GROWING LIST OF EXEMPTIONS FOR CERTAIN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. SB 1718 STATES THAT THE PROPOSED EXEMPTION IS JUSTIFIED BECAUSE OF “[T]HE INCREASE IN VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE AND PARTICULARLY VIOLENCE RELATING TO DECISIONS AFFECTING EMPLOYEES’ RIGHTS.” CLOSING ACCESS TO A HOME ADDRESS WILL NOT LESSEN THE POTENTIAL FOR VIOLENCE AT WORK, HOWEVER.

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