December 6, 2019
After years of eroding the public’s right to know with more than a thousand loopholes, Florida lawmakers now want to amend the public records law to make information about themselves confidential.
They want to exclude their home addresses, phone numbers and birth dates, along with where their spouses and children work. The proposal would place a similar cloak around Florida’s three Cabinet members
More secrecy. No wonder trust is shaken in government.
Over the years, lawmakers have shielded certain identification and location information for current and former judges, police, firefighters, prosecutors, public defenders, code enforcement officers, probation officers and paramedics. Most of these exemptions are understandable.
But Senate Bill 832, which will be considered when the legislative session begins in January, would put state politicians behind the curtain, too.
Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland, the sponsor of this ill-conceived idea, says the bill is needed because of the threats faced in today’s highly polarized atmosphere.
“With the animosity that we’re all seeing in the public,” Stargel told us, “I think, for safety, we don’t need to have that information so readily available to the public.”