Just months ago, Gov. Rick Scott and legislators passed legislation to expand trade secrets and keep business deals with entertainers from public view.
By Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau’s Mary Ellen Klas
December 16, 2016
The governor signed and all but seven Democrats voted for two bills that expanded the definition of trade secrets to allow more agencies to shield financial information from the public. The legislation took effect Oct. 1.
If the now-controversial Pitbull contract hadn’t already been signed, Visit Florida could have argued that the state law required it keep the contract details secret, said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation. She urged the governor to veto the bill.
Pitbull’s $1 million contract with the state has been under fire after House Speaker Richard Corcoran filed a lawsuit asking a court to order Visit Florida to release the details of the rapper’s agreement to promote Florida beaches.
Pitbull then released the details of the contract on his Twitter feed, and Friday, Scott ordered Visit Florida to make a series of changes designed to make its operations more transparent. Scott also ousted Will Seccombe, the head of the agency, who signed the deal.
But Petersen is not convinced that the governor’s transparency order is really designed to allow the public access to expensive business deals. [READ MORE]