2003 Legislative Report for Period Ending April 4

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W Withdrawn from further consideration

For Period Ending: April 4

SB 122 Child Abuse Records: Amends the exemption for child abuse records to allow access by staff of child advocacy centers who are actively involved in providing services to the child. Similar to HB 1147. Sen. Rod Smith (D-Gainesville)

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: Reported favorably. Now in S. Rules Committee.

CS/HB 251 Library Records: Amends the exemption for library registration and circulation records in s. 257.261, F.S., to allow access to the exempt information by parents of library patrons under the age of 16 for the purpose of collecting fines or recovering overdue library materials, or by the library patron named in the records. Stipulates that information in such records may not be made known in any manner unless authorized by statute or under court order the exempt information by parents or guardians of library patrons under the age of 16 for the purpose of collecting fines or recovering overdue library materials. Similar to CS/SB192. Rep. Pat Patterson (R-DeLand)

  • H. Local Government & Veterans’ Affairs Committee: Reported favorably. Now in H. Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Committee.

SB 284 OGSR/Workers’ Compensation Records: Reenacts, with minor changes, the exemption under s. 440.108, F.S., for investigatory records of the Department of Insurance (DOI) relating to workers’ compensation records, stipulating that such records are exempt until the investigation is complete or ceases to be active, unless the records would jeopardize the integrity of another active investigation; reveal a trade secret; reveal business or personal financial information; reveal personal identifying information of a confidential source; defame or cause unwarranted damage to the good name or reputation of an individual; or reveal investigative techniques or procedures. Also allows DOI to provide the exempt information to any law enforcement or administrative agency for use in the performance of its official duties. Similar to HB 1035. S. Banking & Insurance Committee

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: A minor, technical amendment is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Rules Committee.

SB 298 OGSR/Kids Health Program: Expands the exemption in s. 409.821, F.S., for information in an application for determination of eligibility for the Florida Kids Health Program which identifies an applicant, including medical information and family financial information, to exempt information identifying a Florida Kidcare program applicant or enrollee held by the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, or the Florida Health Kids Corporation. Allows disclosure to other governmental entities only if disclosure is necessary for purposes directly connected with the administration of the Kidcare Program. Similar to HB 1031. S. Committee on Health, Aging & Long-Term Care

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: Amended to add a sunset review requirement; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Rules Committee.

SB 306 OGSR/AHCA Provider & Subscriber Assistance Panel Records & Meetings: Makes minor, technical changes to the exemption in s. 408.7056, F.S., for subscriber identifying information contained in records prepared or reviewed by a provider and subscriber assistance panel of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Also exempts meetings of the panel if the provider or subscriber whose grievance is to be heard requests a closed meeting and AHCA or the Department of Insurance determines that sensitive personal information, trade secret information, or information related to internal risk management programs may be revealed at the meeting. Allows for release of the exempt information if so requested by the subscriber. Similar to HB 1033. S. Committee on Health, Aging, & Long-Term Care

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: A minor amendment is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Rules Committee.

CS/HB 453 Exemption/Victims of Sexual Offenses: Creates a public record exemption for any photograph, videotape, digital image, electronic image, recorded image, or other visual image of any part of the body of a victim of a sexual offense that is criminal intelligence or investigative information. Stipulates that the exemption applies even if the victim is not identified. Identical to CS/SB 126. Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Oviedo)

  • H. Public Safety Committee: Reported favorably. Now on H. Calendar.

HB 491 Exemption/Institute of Human & Machine Cognition: Creates a public record exemption for (1) material relating to methods of manufacture or production, potential and actual trade secrets, potentially patentable material, and proprietary information received, generated, ascertained, or discovered pursuant to research conducted by or through the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition at the University of West Florida; (2) the identity of donors or prospective donors to the Institute; (3) information received by the Institute that is otherwise exempt by law; (4) internal auditing controls and reports of internal auditors; (5) matters encompassed in privileged attorney-client communications; (6) bids or other contractual data, bank records, and credit agreements; and (7) personnel information. Stipulates that such information is not subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence. Also exempts all meetings of the Institute’s governing board except when the board is discussing expenditure of public funds. Similar to CS/SB 1770. Rep. Holly Benson (R-Pensacola)

  • H. Higher Education Subcommittee: Reported favorably. Now in H. Education Committee.

w HB 559 Publication Information: Prohibits government agencies from mailing general unsolicited reports to any person on the state with certain, specified exceptions. Identical to SB 1768. Rep. Mike Haridopolos (R-Melbourne)

  • House: Withdrawn from further consideration.

SB 566 Medical Malpractice: Expresses the intent of the Legislature to revise laws relating to medical malpractice. No House companion. Sen. Burt Saunders (R-Naples)

  • S. Health, Aging & Long-Term Care Committee: A strike all amendment is adopted, and the bill is reported favorably as a committee substitute. As amended, CS/SB 566 creates (1) a public record exemption for information contained in patient safety data [defined in CS/SB 562 as “any data, reports, records, memoranda, or analyses of patient safety events and adverse incidents” submitted to the Florida Center of Health Care Excellence “or the corrective actions taken in response” to such events or incidents (emphasis added)] held by the Florida Center for Excellence in Health Care, and (2) all patient records obtained by the Center and any other documents maintained by the Center which identify the patient by name, and (3) a public meeting exemption for portions of Center meeting at which such exempt information is discussed. (4) Allows disclosure of the exempt information with the express written consent of the individual; by court order; or to a health research entity or licensed health insurer if the entity or insurer seeks the records or data pursuant to a research protocol approved by the Center, allowing the Center to deny requests and restrict the use of the exempt information. Now in S. Judiciary.

HB 847 Citizen’s Right to Honest Government: In pertinent part, HB 847 prohibits a “public servant” from (1) falsifying, concealing, destroying, mutilating, or altering any official record or document; (2) obstructing, delaying, or preventing the communication of information relating to the commission of a felony that directly involves or affects the public agency or public entity served by the public servant; (3) disclosing active criminal investigative or intelligence information with the intention of obstructing, impeding, or preventing a criminal investigation or prosecution if the information is not available to the general public and is gained by reason of the public servant’s official position; and (4) disclosing material information concerning a bid or other aspects of the competitive bidding process when such information is not publicly disclosed. Finally, stipulates that a person who provides information regarding suspected criminal violations committed by a public servant shall be considered a confidential informant or confidential source. Similar to SB 2030. Rep. Dudley Goodlette (R-Naples)

  • H. Ethics & Elections Subcommittee: One minor amendment adopted; reported favorably with one amendment. Now in H. Procedures Committee.
  • H. Procedures Committee: A strike all amendment, clarifying that any public servant who gives false testimony, rather than making a false statement, is subject to criminal punishment, is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in H. Appropriations Committee.

HB 997 Exemption/Prescription Drug Records: Creates a public records exemption for patient identifying information in records reported under s. 893.055, F.S., which requires creation of an electronic system to monitor prescription of certain controlled substances by Florida health care practitioners. Identical to SB 1784. Rep. Gayle Harrell (R-Port St. Lucie)

  • H. Subcommittee on Health Standards: A strike all amendment, creating an exemption for all information (including any information identifying physicians and pharmacists) and records reported under s. 893.055, F.S., is adopted; reported favorably with one amendment. Now in H. State Administration Committee.

SB 1026 OGSR/Video-Taped Statements of Minors: Amends s. 119.07(3)(s)2.a. F.S., providing a public records exemption for information identifying minors who are the victims of certain, specified sexual crimes in their video-taped statements to clarify that law enforcement agencies are the custodians of such videotaped statements. Also authorizes disclosure of the exempt information to other government agencies if necessary to the performance of the receiving agency’s duties and responsibilities. Similar to HB 1019. S. Criminal Justice Committee

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: Reported favorably. Now in S. Rules Committee.

CS/HB 1061 Exemption/Exemption/Food Safety Investigations: Creates a public record exemption for exempt federal records provided to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for assistance during a joint food safety or food illness investigation. Stipulates that the exempt information may not be disclosed except under a final determination by the appropriate federal agencies that the records are no longer entitled to protection or pursuant to a court order. Similar to SB 1230. Rep. Marty Bowen (R-Winter Haven)

  • H. State Administration Committee: One minor amendment adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now on House Calendar.

HB 1157 Florida Administrative Weekly: Allows any agency required to publish notices in the Florida Administrative Weekly to publish such notices on the Internet instead. Similar to CS/SB 1374. Rep. Dave Murzin (R-Pensacola)

  • H. State Administration Committee: strike all amendment is adopted, and reported favorably as a committee substitute. As amended, HB 1157 requires the Department of State (DOS) to (1) publish the Florida Administrative Weekly (FAW) on an Internet web site established and maintained by the State Technology Office; and (2) review meeting notices for compliance with format and numbering requirements. CS/HB 1157 also (3) stipulates that the FAW must allow users to search for notices by type, publication date, rule number or agency; search by word or subject; search a permanent database that archives all notices published on the web site; and subscribe to an automated e-mail notification of selected notices. Finally, (4) stipulates that agencies will not be charged for publishing in the electronic FAW and that access to the FAW web site shall be free for agencies and the general public. (5) Publication of the paper version of the FAW will be discontinued as of December 31, 2003. Now in House Appropriations Committee.

SB 1182 Security System Plans: Makes minor, technical amendments to the exemption in s. 119.071, F.S., for security system plans. No House companion. Sen. Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland)

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: Amended to remove a repeal of s. 281.031, F.S., providing a nearly identical exemption for security system plans; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Rules Committee.

SB 1230 Exemption/Food Safety Investigations: Creates a public record exemption for exempt federal records provided to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for assistance during a joint food safety or food illness investigation. Stipulates that the exempt information may not be disclosed except under a final determination by the appropriate federal agencies that the records are no longer entitled to protection or pursuant to a court order. Similar to HB 1061. Sen. Nancy Argenziano (R-Crystal River)

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: An amendment to the constitutionally-required statement of public necessity is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Health Committee.

SB 1446 OGSR/Florida Land Sales Division Investigations: Reenacts, with minor technical changes, the public record exemption in s. 498.047(8), F.S., for information relative to an investigation by the Florida Land Sales Division until 10 day after a notice to show cause has been filed, or until the investigation is complete or ceases to be active. Provides that consumer complaints relative to such investigations remain exempt under certain, specified conditions. Similar to HB 1039. S. Regulated Industries Committee

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: Reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Rules Committee.

HB 1579 Autopsy Records: Amends the exemption in s. 406.135, F.S., for autopsy records to allow survivors of deceased persons to designate “agents” to view or obtain autopsy records from the medical examiner. Similar to SB 1052. Rep. Yolly Roberson (D-N. Miami)

  • H. State Administration Committee: A technical amendment, clarifying that the deceased’s surviving relative with the authority to obtain the exempt autopsy record may designate, in writing, an agent to obtain such record is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now on House Calendar.

SB 1580 Identity Theft: Expresses the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to identity theft. No House companion. Sen. Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres)

  • S. Banking & Insurance Committee: A strike all amendment, (1) stipulating in pertinent part that a person who uses deceptive practices to obtain another person’s address, telephone number, or social security number and then uses such information for commercial solicitation purposes commits an unfair or deceptive act or practice or unfair method of competition; and (2) prohibiting a person filing for bankruptcy from selling any database containing personal customer information if the bankrupt person has agreed that personal customer information would not be disclosed (similar to HB 891 and SB 1212), is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Criminal Justice Committee.

SB 1664 Exemption/ParaTransit Services: Creates a public record exemption for all personal identifying information contained in records relating to an individual’s health held by local governments for the purpose of determining eligibility for paratransit services under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Allows for disclosure with the express written consent of the individual, in a medical emergency, or by order of a court upon a showing of good cause. Identical to HB 1785. Sen. Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville)

  • S. Governmental Oversight Committee: A minor, technical amendment is adopted; reported favorably as a committee substitute. Now in S. Transportation Committee.

SB 1764 Exemption/Potable Water Security: Creates a public records exemption for security plans for sources of potable water and potable water treatment facilities owned or operated by or under contract to a regional water supply authority, county, special district, or municipality. Also exempts material (including information on chemical purchases and storage, power generation systems, facility operations manuals, design information, security systems, plans, and maps) depicting critical operating and distribution facilities if the agency determines that the material contains information that is not generally known and that could jeopardize public health, safety, and welfare. No House companion. Sen. J.D. Alexander (R-Winter Haven)

  • S. Home Defense Committee: A minor, technical amendment is adopted; reported favorably with one amendment. Now in S. Governmental Oversight Committee.

NEW BILLS FILED

HB 1785 Exemption/ParaTransit Services: Creates a public record exemption for all personal identifying information contained in records relating to an individual’s health held by local governments for the purpose of determining eligibility for paratransit services under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Allows for disclosure with the express written consent of the individual, in a medical emergency, or by order of a court upon a showing of good cause. Identical to SB 1664. H. State Administration Committee

THIS LEGISLATION, NEARLY IDENTICAL TO LEGISLATION FILED LAST YEAR AND CREATING A LIMITED EXEMPTION TO THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT OF ACCESS, COMPLIES WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CREATING EXEMPTIONS.

HB 1787 Exemption/Alternative Investments Program: Creates a public record exemption for information related to the alternative investments program held by the Board of Administration, including: (1) information or specific investment terms associated with individual portfolio company investments; (2) contractual side letters or other information concerning other investors in current or prospective partnerships or investment management relationships; and (3) due-diligence materials concerning prospective or current partnerships or investment management relationships. Requires the Auditor General to report to the Commission on Ethics any investment transaction violating ch. 112, F. S., stipulating that the confidential information obtained by the Auditor General retains its exempt status unless the information relates to violations of ch. 112. Similar to SB 2396. H. State Administration Committee

🙁 ALTHOUGH HB 1787 IS SOMEWHAT MORE NARROW THAN IT’S SENATE COMPANION, WE’RE STILL WORRIED ABOUT THE LACK OF PUBLIC OVERSIGHT. “ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS” GENERALLY HAVE A MUCH HIGHER RATE OF RETURN THAN MORE TRADITIONAL INVESTMENTS, SO WE UNDERSTAND THE SBA’S DESIRE TO INVESTMENT. BUT HIGH YIELD ALMOST ALWAYS MEANS HIGH RISK, AND THERE’S VERY LITTLE OPPORTUNITY FOR UNFETTERED PUBLIC OVERSIGHT. IT’S “TRUST US” (OR TRUST THE AUDITOR GENERAL) LEGISLATION, AND MAKES US UNDERSTANDABLY NERVOUS. WE MUST QUESTION NOT ONLY THE EXEMPTION, BUT ALSO THE UNDERLYING PUBLIC POLICY ISSUES.

SB 2716 Exemption/Worker’s Compensation – Ill or Injured Employees: Reenacts s. 440.185, F.S., providing a public record exemption for information in a report of injury or illness that would identify an ill or injured employee. Similar to SB 282 and HB 1714. Sen. Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville)

THIS BILL IS NOTHING MORE THAN AN OPEN GOVERNMENT SUNSET REVIEW (OGSR) BILL, WHICH ARE USUALLY FILED BY A LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE. HOWEVER, THERE IS DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEES ON THIS ISSUE – THE HOUSE BILL, HB 1714, REENACTS THE EXEMPTION (WITH SLIGHT MODIFICATIONS) AND THE SENATE BILL, SB 282, REPEALS THE EXEMPTION. IF THE SENATE DOES NOT TAKE ANY ACTION, THE EXEMPTION WILL “SUNSET” IN OCTOBER.

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There are two bills included in the report, SB 566 and SB 1580, which have not been included in previous reports. Both were the much dreaded shell bills – legislation which contains nothing more than a rather innocuous statement of legislative intent. SB 1580 was an act relating to identity theft – because we see a rather large number of public record exemptions filed in the guise of preventing identity theft, SB 1580 was on our tracking list. SB 566, however, was tied to medical malpractice, and we were more than a little surprised this morning to find that it had morphed into a 🙁 exemption bill. That our Legislature could propose an exception to uor constitutional right of access, particularly one as onerous as CS/SB 566, without any public notice is, frankly, deeply disturbing. We found the bill today only because we give each day’s calendar a very careful read. The bill first appeared on the calendar about two weeks ago, but the calendar simply noted the bill number and it’s then title, Medical Malpractice. There was absolutely NO indication that this bill would become a public record exemption. CS/SB 566 will be heard in the Senate Justice Committee on Monday, April 7, and we will, of course, report any action. In the interim, we would encourage everyone to contact the Senate leadership and express your displeasure with the practice of using shell bills. The First Amendment Foundation will be weighing in on this issue, loud and clear.

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