2000 Legislative Report for Period Ending April 14

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W Withdrawn from further consideration

For Period Ending: April 14

CS/HB 125 Release of Employment Records: Requires an employer to release employment and other records to law enforcement officers, correctional officers, or correctional probation officers conducting background investigations for employment. Also requires the officer seeking the release of the information to provide the employer with an “authorization for release of information” form. Allows an employer to charge a fee for the actual cost of copying and furnishing the records. Similar to CS/SB 378. Rep. Jim Tullis (R-Jacksonville)

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

HB 439 Certified Capital Companies: Stipulates that (1) any information relating to an investigation or review of a CAPCO, including consumer complaints, is exempt until the investigation is complete or no longer active; (2) if the investigative or review records are submitted to a law enforcement or administrative agency for further investigation, then the records remain confidential and exempt until completion of the subsequent investigation; and (3) consumer complaints and other information will remain exempt if disclosure would reveal a trade secret, jeopardize the integrity of another active investigation or review, or disclose the identity of an confidential source or investigative techniques or procedures. Also creates public records exemptions for (1) the home addresses and telephone numbers of Department of Banking and Finance personnel involved in CAPCO investigations or reviews that might endanger their lives or physical safety or that of their families; (2) all information obtained by the Department which is made available on a confidential or restricted basis (this exemption does not apply to information which must be filed with the Department); and (3) the social security numbers of CAPCO customers, complainants, or persons associated with CAPCOs. In addition, CS/HB 439 authorizes the presiding officer in any administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding to prevent disclosure of the exempt information and creates a privilege against civil liability to those providing information or evidence to the department. Similar to SB 1872. Rep. Larry Crow (R-Palm Harbor) 🙁

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

CS/CS/HB 505 Direct Support Organizations: Prohibits contributions by university and community college direct support organizations to political campaigns or political action committees unrelated to the educational mission of the university or community college. Similar to CS/SB 890. Rep. Annie Betancourt (D-Miami)

  • House: Laid on the table; CS/CS/SB 890 is substituted and read a second time. CS/CS/SB 890 rolls to third reading.

CS/HB 829 Department of Health/Disciplinary Records: Creates a public records exemption for all information obtained by the Department of Health (DOH) regarding final disciplinary action against a physician taken by a licensed hospital or ambulatory surgical center. Similar to CS/SB 992. Rep. Bruce Kyle (R-Fort Myers) 🙁

  • H. Governmental Operations Committee: Reported favorably.

HJR 923 Meetings/Judicial Nominating Commissions: Proposes an amendment to Article V, section 11, of the Florida Constitution, to make all meetings of judicial nominating commissions public. Similar to SJR 396. Rep. Fred Brummer (R-Apopka) 🙂

  • H. Judiciary Committee: A “strike everything” amendment (1) requires that all meetings of judicial nominating commissions (JNC) be open to the public; (2) increases the number of judicial candidates to be considered; and (3) requires the JNC to rank the candidates and allows the JNC to include comments on each candidate. Reported favorably as a committee substitute.

CS/HB 1037 Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force: Stipulates that confidential records obtained by a domestic violence fatality prevention task force retain their confidential status. Creates a public meetings exemption for those portions of task force meetings during which the identity of a victim or the children of the victim is discussed. Similar to CS/SB 1126. Rep. Ken Pruitt (R-Port St. Lucie)

  • H. Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention Committee: A “strike everything” amendment offered by Rep. Pruitt making minor changes to CS/HB 1037 is adopted; reported favorably with one amendment.

CS/HB 1477 Home Addresses/Local Government Employees: Creates a public records exemption for the home addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers and photographs of current or former human resource managers and directors of any local government agency whose duties include hiring and firing employees, labor contract negotiation, administration, or other personnel-related duties. Also exempts the same information for the spouses and children of such employees. No Senate companion. Rep. Greg Gay (R-Cape Coral) 🙁

  • House: An amendment offered by Rep. Gay expanding the exemption to include human resource managers and directors of water management districts is adopted. Passed the House as amended (115/0); in Senate Messages.

SB 1620 Lawyer/Client Privilege: Stipulates that Florida’s Public Records Law and Sunshine Law cannot be construed as waiving the lawyer/client privilege except for communications contained in a public record or made in a public meeting. Identical to HB 2083. Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami) 🙁

  • S. Governmental Oversight & Productivity Committee: A “strike everything” amendment (addressing FAF concerns) clarifying that only those discussions NOT subject to the Sunshine Law may be protected by the lawyer/client privilege under ch. 90, F.S., and that the provision cannot be construed as creating or altering any exemption to the Sunshine Law or the Public Records Law, is adopted. Reported favorably as a committee substitute.

HB 1741 Home Addresses/Nurses: Creates a public records exemption for the home addresses and telephone numbers of nurses working in any type of correctional facility or in any mental health facility. Also includes advanced registered nurses in the exemption for information obtained by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) in preparing practitioner profiles. No Senate companion. Compare SB 2394. Rep. Janegale Boyd (D-Monticello) 🙁

  • H. Corrections Committee: Reported favorably.

SB 1872 Certified Capital Companies: Creates a public records exemption for any information relating to an investigation or review of a CAPCO, including consumer complaints, is exempt until the investigation is complete or no longer active, stipulating that: if the investigative or review records are submitted to a law enforcement or administrative agency for further investigation, then the records remain confidential and exempt until completion of the subsequent investigation; and consumer complaints and other information will remain exempt if disclosure would reveal a trade secret, jeopardize the integrity of another active investigation or review, or disclose the identity of an confidential source or investigative techniques or procedures. Also creates exemptions for (1) the home addresses and telephone numbers of Department of Banking and Finance personnel involved in CAPCO investigations or reviews that might endanger their lives or physical safety or that of their families; (2) all information obtained by the Department which is made available on a confidential or restricted basis (this exemption does not apply to information which must be filed with the Department); and (3) the social security numbers of CAPCO customers, complainants, or persons associated with CAPCOs. In addition, authorizes the presiding officer in any administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding to prevent disclosure of the exempt information and creates a privilege against civil liability to those providing information or evidence to the department. Similar to CS/HB 439. Sen. Don Sullivan (R-St. Petersburg) 🙁

  • S. Banking & Insurance Committee: One minor amendment adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute.

HB 1903 Exemption/Abandoned Infants: As amended, creates a public records exemption for the identity of parents who leave a newborn infant with a hospital or fire station. Allows disclosure of the exempt information to a person claiming to be the parent of the newborn. Similar to SB 2082. Rep. Sandra Murman (R-Tampa)

  • H. Governmental Operations Committee: Reported favorably.

CS/HB 1967 Exemption for Motor Vehicle Records: Creates a public records 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., but limits access to social security numbers and medical and disability information. Allows access upon express written consent of the subject of the record. No Senate companion. Rep. Lindsay Harrington (R-Punta Gorda) 🙁

  • H. Governmental Operations Committee: Reported favorably.

HB 2123 Non-Title IV-D Child Support Enforcement Services: Creates a public records exemption for information identifying recipients of or applicants for non-Title IV-D child support enforcement services provided by a county agency. Similar to SB 2386. Rep. Debby Sanderson (R-Ft. Lauderdale)

  • H. Governmental Operations Committee: Two minor amendments adopted; reported favorably as amended.

HB 2217 Lottery Department/1-900 Telephone Service: Creates a public records exemption for winning lottery numbers and payout information provided to the public through the Department’s 1-900 telephone service, stipulating that such information is confidential and exempt. Similar to CS/SB 1588. Rep. Dennis Jones (R-Seminole) 🙁

  • H. Regulated Services Committee: Amended (in response to FAF concerns) to delete the exemption for the winning lottery numbers and payout information, and create an exemption to the general fee provision in the Public Records Law for fees charged for access to winning lottery numbers and payout information provided through a 1-900 telephone service. Reported favorably as a committee substitute. (Under the CS/HB 2217, a requestor can still get the winning lottery numbers and payout information from the Department’s web site or through a public record request. The bill, as amended, simply allows the Department to charge a fee for access to the information through its 1-900 telephone service.)

w SB 2352 Child Death Review Records and Meetings: Creates a public records exemption for all reports and records of the State Child Death Review Committee which relate only to child fatalities and in which specific persons or incidents are discussed. Also creates a public meetings exemptions for those portions of meeting at which such records are discussed. Stipulates that all confidential or exempt information obtained by the State Child Death Review Committee retains its exempt status, as does all confidential or exempt information obtained by a hospital or a health care practitioner from the Committee. No House companion. Sen. Ron Silver (D-N. Miami) 🙁

  • Senate: Withdrawn from further consideration.

NEW BILLS FILED

HEALTH CARE and HOSPITAL INFORMATION

HB 2321 Exemption/Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program: Creates a public records exemption for all oral and written records, information, letters, and reports received, made, or maintained by the Department of Health (DOH) concerning any applicant for or recipient of brain and spinal cord injury program services. Allows for disclosure under certain, specified circumstances, and provides a penalty for the unauthorized release of such information. No Senate companion. H. Committee on Health Care Services

🙁 WE DON’T OBJECT TO THE INTENT OF THIS LEGISLATION—TO PROTECT SENSITIVE, PERSONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THOSE WITH BRAIN AND SPINAL CORD INJURIES—BUT THE BILL, AS DRAFTED, IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OVERBROAD.

INSURANCE INFORMATION

HB 2333 Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association/Records & Meetings: Creates public records exemptions for (1) appraisals, surveys, applications and other information relating to a policyholder’s property, including its location, type of construction, and valuation; (2) the name and address of the policyholder and the producer of the record; (3) information relating to underlying property coverages on the policyholder’s property; (4) all information generated in connection with applications for coverage; (5) all information included in underwriting files; (6) claims files, until termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims; (7) records obtained or generated by an internal auditor pursuant to a routine audit, until the audit is completed; (8) privileged attorney-client communications; (9) all proprietary information and data, including computer models, and trade secret information licensed or furnished to or used by the association as part of a response to a request for proposals or under separate contract between the owner and the association if the response or contract requires confidentiality; (10) all information relating to the medical condition or medical status of an association employee which is not relevant to the employee’s ability to perform his or her duties; (11) all information relative to an employee’s participation in a substance abuse program; and (12) all responses to requests for proposals, until the successful vendor is selected. Stipulates that the association may transfer underwriting files to an insurer or authorized agent only if the insurer or agent agrees in writing to maintain the confidentiality of such files. Also creates a meetings exemption for attendance at and participation in meetings, negotiating sessions, presentation, conferences, and promotional sessions by two or more association board members with lenders, rating agencies, investors, underwriters, and government officials concerning promoting, marketing, negotiating, or consummating a debt financing when the debt financing has been approved by the board at a public meeting. Similar to CS/SB 1278. Rep. Jerry Melvin (R-Ft. Walton Beach)

🙁 IN ADDITION TO THE TWELVE (12!!!) NEW PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTIONS THIS BILL CREATES, THE MEETINGS EXEMPTION IS WAY OVERBROAD. SOME OF THE PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTIONS IN THIS BILL TRACK CURRENT EXEMPTIONS FOR OTHER UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATIONS, BUT OTHERS—SPECIFICALLY, THE FIRST THREE —ARE, WE BELIEVE, OVERBROAD AND VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARD FOR THE CREATION OF NEW EXEMPTIONS. IN ADDITION, THE REQUIRED STATEMENT OF PUBLIC NECESSITY IS INSUFFICIENT AND DOES NOT ADEQUATELY JUSTIFY THE NEED TO CLOSE MEETINGS OF THE BOARD.

SOCIAL SERVICES

HB 2307 Child Abuse Records/Guardian Ad Litem: Creates a public records exemption for information identifying a child or the child’s parents in records concerning allegations of abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child held by a guardian ad litem. Similar to SB 2280. H. Committee on Family Law & Children

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

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The report is a little short this week; our executive director, Barbara Petersen, had to leave town on Thursday to attend the National Freedom of Information Coalition in Washington, DC. The following is a list of bills scheduled for consideration Thursday, April 13:

SB 2280, Exemption/Guardian Ad Litem Records

Any action taken on these bills will be included in next week’s report. If you need information on any legislation before then, please call the First Amendment Foundation at (800) 337-3518 or, in Tallahassee, 222-3518. You can also check On-Line Sunshine for a status report. That web address is: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/.

Next week will be even shorter—both the House and Senate will recess at noon on Wednesday for Passover, and will return on Easter Monday. The Foundation offices will be closed on Friday, April 21. The weekly report will be posted by Thursday.

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