WUSF by Susan Giles Wantuck
March 8, 2019
Florida is known for providing easy access to public records. But Barbara Petersen of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation says the 2019 legislative session is remarkable for the broad records exemptions bills that are being filed.
That includes one that addresses access to information involving mass shootings, such as the one at Parkland.
“My concern is that the way the Victims of Mass Violence bill is written, it’s so broad, that we might not get the video of Nikolas Cruz walking into the school with a gun,” Petersen said. “We might not get the video of school resource officer Scot Peterson hiding behind a tree.”
Petersen says that video was only obtained after a number of news organizations got together and sued for access. The lawsuit cost more than $100,000.
She says access to public records is critical to holding police and government accountable.