It may soon be harder for you to see the records of your government. After a record breaking 22 public records exemptions last year, lawmakers are back with more ideas for limiting what you can see.
Florida’s tax collectors were out in force at the Capitol. They are supporting legislation by Senator Jack Latvala that would keep email addresses they receive confidential.
“This is really an anti fraud measure” Latvala told a Senate committee.
Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson is worried that someone will duplicate her web site and send bogus emails directing payments to the false website. “They would make that web site look just like mine. And you would think you were receiving an email from Diane Nelson the tax collector vs a fake web site” says Nelson
So far more than 50 bills have been introduced limiting access to what are now public records. First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Peterson says it is an all out assault. “We’re having a real struggle I think. And it’s a critical time, I think for people to stand up and demand their rights under the constitution” says Peterson.
A case at the Florida Supreme Court could make it harder to get records you are legally entitled to.”
Curtis Lee was critical of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund. When he wanted to see its records, the fund threw up roadblocks. “I would have to pay $280 to have someone watch me for the whole day” is what Lee was told.
Now Lee is asking the Florida Supreme Court to award him attorneys fees because he had to go to court to get records to which he was entitled. Attorney Robert Dees says a win is crucial. “And it will affirm people’s ability to get access to records.”
A ruling against fees could make records harder to get everywhere.
Original article here.