2000 Legislative Report for Period Ending March 31

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W Withdrawn from further consideration

For Period Ending: March 31

CS/SB 378 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. Identical to CS/HB 125. Sen. Jim King (R-Jacksonville)

  • S. Criminal Justice Committee: A minor amendment sponsored by Sen. Jim Horne (R-Orange Park) is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute for the committee substitute.

HB 829 Department of Health/Disciplinary Records: Creates a public records exemption for (1) 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; (2) all information contained in notifications of adverse incidents provided to DOH by physicians and osteopathic physicians; and (3) presuit notices and all information obtained by DOH in connection with its investigation of alleged malpractice claims. Similar to CS/SB 992. Rep. Bruce Kyle (R-Fort Myers) 🙁

  • H. Health Care Licensing & Regulation Committee: A “strike everything” amendment deleting the proposed exemptions for (1) information obtained by DOH regarding final disciplinary action against a physician taken by a hospital, and (2) presuit notices, is adopted. Reported favorably as a committee substitute. (CS/HB 829 now exempts only information contained in notifications of adverse incidents provided to DOH by physicians and osteopathic physicians.)

w SB 886 Entertainment Company Production Records: Creates a public records exemption for all business records provided by an entertainment industry production company to the Office of the Film Commissioner for the purpose of receiving sales and use tax exemptions. No House companion. Sen George Kirkpatrick (R-Gainesville) 🙁

  • Senate: Withdrawn from further consideration.

CS/SB 890 Donors/Direct Support Organizations: Prohibits contributions by university or community college direct support organizations (DSO) to political campaigns or political action committees. Similar to CS/HB 505. Sen. Patsy Ann Kurth (D-Palm Bay)

  • S. Education Committee: Amended to prohibit contributions by the DSOs except for those directly related to the institution’s educational mission as approved by a majority of the governing board at a regularly scheduled meeting. Reported favorably as a committee substitute.

SB 992 Department of Health/Disciplinary Records: Creates a public records exemption for (1) 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; (2) all information contained in notifications of adverse incidents provided to DOH by physicians and osteopathic physicians; and (3) presuit notices and all information obtained by DOH in connection with its investigation of alleged malpractice claims. Identical to HB 829. Sen. Charlie Clary (R-Destin) 🙁

  • S. Health, Aging & Long-Term Care Committee: A “strike everything” amendment deleting the proposed exemptions for (1) information obtained by DOH regarding final disciplinary action against a physician taken by a hospital, and (2) presuit notices, is adopted. Reported favorably as a committee substitute. (CS/SB 992 now exempts only information contained in notifications of adverse incidents provided to DOH by physicians and osteopathic physicians.)

HB 1617 Account Information/College Savings Program: Creates a public records exemption for information that identifies the benefactors or designated beneficiaries of college savings program accounts. Authorizes release of the exempt information to community colleges and universities under certain, specified circumstances. Identical to SB 836. Rep. Jerry Melvin (R-Ft. Walton Beach)

  • H. Colleges & Universities Committee: Reported favorably.

HB 1851 Hospital Report Cards: Amends § 395.0197(18), F.S., requiring the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to annually publish hospital report cards summarizing information contained in annual incident reports submitted by the hospitals and disciplinary action reported to AHCA. Stipulates that such report cards must include, among other things, the number of adverse incidents at each hospital and a listing of the types of operations, diagnostic or treatment procedures, or other actions that resulted in the adverse incidents. Similar to SB 1858. Rep. Larry Crow (R-Dunedin) 🙂

  • H. Health Care Licensing & Regulation Committee: Amended to require that hospital report cards include a statement about why a hospital may have more adverse incidents than another and to change the effective date. Reported favorably as a committee substitute.

HB 1869 Home Addresses/Visitation Center Employees & Volunteers: Creates a public records exemption for the home addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, and photographs of employees and volunteers of any certified supervised visitation program. Also exempts the same information, as well as place of employment and the names and location of schools, for the spouses and children of such employees. No Senate companion. Rep. Beryl Roberts (D-Miami) 🙁

  • H. Governmental Operations Committee: Reported favorably.

HB 1939 Money Transmitter Records: Creates a public record exemption for all information concerning an investigation or examination conducted by the Department of Banking & Finance (DBF) pursuant to the Money Transmitter’s Code until the conclusion of the investigation or examination. Allows a judge to close the records of any proceeding that ends in acquittal or dismissal upon request of any party. Also creates public records exemptions for: trade secrets and proprietary information obtained by DBF in the course of an investigation or examination; consumer complaints, personal financial information, confidential sources, and investigative techniques or procedures; and all quarterly reports submitted by a money transmitter to DBF. Similar to CS/SB 1262. H. Financial Services Committee

  • H. Governmental Operations Committee: Reported favorably.

HB 2003 Pawnshop Transaction Records: Creates a public records exemption for all records relating to secondhand goods acquisitions provided to a local law enforcement agency. No Senate companion. SEE HB 903. Rep. Elaine Bloom (D-Miami Beach)

  • H. Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention Committee: Amended to include records provided to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) as well as those provided to a local law enforcement agency. Reported favorably as a committee substitute.

SB 2082 Exemption/Abandoned Infants: Creates a public records exemption for the identity of parents who leave a newborn infant with a hospital. Identical to HB 1902. Sen. John Grant (R-Tampa)

  • Senate: Amended to (1) include newborns left at a fire station; and (2) allow disclosure of the exempt information to a person claiming to be the parent of the newborn. Passed the Senate as amended; in House Messages.

SB 2250 School Readiness Programs: Creates a public records exemptions for individual records of children enrolled in (1) subsidized child-care programs and (2) school readiness programs. Defines “records” to include assessment data, health data, records of teacher observations, and identifying data, including a child’s social security number. Allows access to the exempt records by a child’s parent or guardian. Also provides access to school readiness coalitions and the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. No House companion. Sen. Anna Cowin (R-Leesburg)

  • S. Education Committee: Reported favorably.

NEW BILLS FILED

ELECTRONIC COMMERCE AND RECORDS

HB 1891 Electronic Commerce/Clerks of Court: In part, requires the county recorder in each county to provide a current index of all documents recorded in the official records of the county on a publicly available website no later than January 1, 2002; the website must also contain a method for obtaining copies of the documents listed in the index. Also requires the county recorders to contract with the Florida Association of Court Clerks (FACC) to participate in and connect to the statewide official records website developed and operated by the FACC. Allows FACC to charge a reasonable fee for access and use of the system, and to “make such other charges as appropriate for commercial use of the system.” Stipulates that no fees will be charged for those who access the system for less than 1 hour per month. Identical to SB 2416. Rep. Joe Arnall (R-Jacksonville Beach)

  • H. Utilities & Communications Committee: Various amendments by Rep. Joe Arnall (R-Jacksonville Beach) delete: (1) all references to the FACC, thus requiring the clerks to develop an index of documents on a publicly available Internet website with the capability of electronically providing the index data to a central statewide search site; and (2) the provision regarding fees for access and use of the system. Reported favorably as a committee substitute.

SB 2416 Electronic Commerce/Clerks of Court: Identical to HB 1891. Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Brooksville)

? THE JURY’S STILL OUT ON THIS ONE, MOSTLY BECAUSE OF THE FEE PROVISIONS. WE LIKE THE IDEA OF THE INDEX AND THE INTERNET SITE. WE’RE NOT SURE, HOWEVER, THAT THE ASSOCIATION SHOULD BE THE LOCATION FOR SUCH A WEBSITE. ALSO, WE’RE JUST A BIT SUSPICIOUS OF THE FEE PROVISION, PARTICULARLY GIVEN OUR PROBLEMS WITH CLERKS AND FEES FOR PAPER COPIES. THE FEE WAIVER IS A GOOD IDEA, BUT THE ONE HOUR LIMITATION SEEMS A BIT SHORT. CLEARLY, THE CS/HB 1891 IS MUCH BETTER THAN THE BILL AS ORIGINALLY DRAFTED. WE’LL KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THIS ONE AS IT MAKES ITS WAY THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS.

HEALTH CARE and HOSPITAL INFORMATION

HB 2101 Exemption/Health Care Practitioners: Creates public records exemptions for (1) home addresses and telephone numbers of health care practitioners working in correctional and mental health facilities; and 2) information relating to an expunged criminal history records provided by a health care practitioner to the Department of Health (DOH), and prohibits an employee of the DOH from releasing such information. Also includes advanced registered nurses in the exemption for information obtained by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) in preparing practitioner profiles. Similar to SB 2394 and HB 1741. H. Health Care Licensing & Regulation Committee

🙁 THIS BILL HAS ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS; PROBLEMS THAT STEM FROM OUR LEGISLATORS TRYING TO CRAM TOO MUCH STUFF INTO ONE BILL—A VIOLATION, WE BELIEVE, OF THE SINGLE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT FOUND IN ART. I, S. 24, OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION. ALTHOUGH WE DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE EXEMPTION FOR INFORMATION ON ADVANCED REGISTERED NURSES OBTAINED BY AHCA IN PREPARING PRACTITIONER PROFILES (THE EXEMPTION IS TEMPORARY), AND THE EXEMPTION FOR THE HOME ADDRESSES OF NURSES WORKING IN PRISONS MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED, WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM WITH THE EXEMPTION FOR INFORMATION RELATING TO EXPUNGED CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS. ACCORDING TO THE STATEMENT OF PUBLIC NECESSITY, THIS EXEMPTION IS JUSTIFIED BECAUSE IT “MAY ADVERSELY AFFECT THE INTEGRITY AND TRUST OF . . . A PRACTITIONER-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP.” WELL, DUH! BUT WOULDN’T YOU WANT TO KNOW THAT THE NURSE YOU’VE HIRED TO CARE FOR YOUR ELDERLY PARENTS HAD A CRIMINAL RECORD? EVEN IF IT WAS EXPUNGED? THIS IS BAD PUBLIC POLICY.

PRIVATIZATION OF GOVERNMENTAL SERVICES

SB 2580 DBPR/Management Privatization Act: Allows the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to contract with private companies to provide specified support services for professional licensing boards, commissions, and councils AND transfers the current public records exemptions for DBPR to those private companies. No House companion. Sen. Charlie Clary (R-Destin)

🙁 REGARDLESS OF THE PRIVATIZATION ISSUE, THIS BILL CLEARLY VIOLATES ARTICLE I, SECTION 24, OF THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION, IN THAT IT EXPANDS CURRENT PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTIONS TO INCLUDE RECORDS CREATED OR MAINTAINED BY THE PRIVATE COMPANY, WITHOUT ACTUALLY CREATING A NEW EXEMPTION. UNDER OUR PUBLIC RECORDS LAW, EXEMPTIONS ARE TO BE NARROWLY CONSTRUED AND STRICTLY APPLIED. THAT MEANS THAT AN EXEMPTION APPLYING TO RECORDS CREATED OR MAINTAINED BY DBPR CANNOT BE APPLIED TO RECORDS CREATED OR MAINTAINED BY A PRIVATE COMPANY WITHOUT SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY. SB 2580 DOES NOT CREATE A NEW EXEMPTION; IT MERELY ATTEMPTS TO EXTEND DBPR’S EXEMPTION. AND EVEN IF THIS COULD BE CONSIDERED THE CREATION OF A NEW EXEMPTION, THE BILL WOULD VIOLATE THE SINGLE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT IN ART. I, S. 24. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

SOCIAL SERVICES

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. Identical to SB 2386. Rep. Debby Sanderson (R-Ft. Lauderdale)

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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You’ll note a new feature in our reporting this week: At the suggestion of one of our members, we have included the happy/unhappy designation on each bill after it’s description. Those bills without a designation meet the constitutional standard for the creation of new exemptions, or the bill does not create an exemption.

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