TALLAHASSEE – The following is a summary of bills pertaining to public records and open meetings introduced during the 2007 legislative session. Chief sponsors of the bills are in parentheses at the end of the summaries. Copies of the legislation in full are available at the Florida Legislature’s Web site (www.leg.state.fl.us). SB = Senate Bill; HB = House Bill; CS = Committee Substitute.
The following 11 bills create new exemptions to the state Public Records and Open Meetings laws. The status of each bill as of June 13 is noted.
HB 63 Exemption/Domestic Violence – State Employees: Creates a public records exemption for personal identifying information contained in records documenting an act of domestic violence that is submitted to an agency by an agency employee. Also exempts written requests for leave submitted by an agency employee and agency time sheets reflecting such requests until one year after the leave has been taken. (Porth, D-Coral Springs) Approved by Gov. Crist June 12.
CS/HB 131 Exemption/Florida Opportunity Fund: Creates a public records exemption for 1) materials relating to methods of manufacture or production, potential trade secrets, or patentable material received, generated, ascertained, or discovered during the course of research conducted by universities or other publicly supported organizations in Florida; 2) information identifying investors or potential investors to the fund who desire anonymity; 3) information received from another state or nation that would otherwise be confidential or exempt; and 4) proprietary confidential business information regarding alternative investments for 10 years after termination of the investment. Exempts portions of meetings of the fund board and the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research at which exempt information is discussed. Requires that such meetings be recorded but creates an exemption for portions containing confidential information. Allows access under certain specified conditions and stipulates that any lawsuit to compel access must be brought in Orange County. (Grant, R-Port Charlotte) Approved by Gov. Crist June 19.
CS/HB 463 Exemption/High School Drug Tests: Creates a public records exemption for records relating to random drug tests of high school athletes. Allows disclosure to certain persons, including a student’s parents and administrators. Exempts portions of a meeting at which confidential and exempt records are discussed or presented. (Llorente, R-Miami) Approved by Gov. Crist June 19.
HB 853 Exemption/Historic St. Augustine – Donors: Creates a public records exemption for the identity of a donor or prospective donor to the historic preservation of St. Augustine if the donor or prospective donor wishes to remain anonymous. (Proctor, R-St. Augustine) Approved by Gov. Crist May 24.
CS/SB 1034 Exemption/Physician Workforce Surveys: Creates a public records exemption for all personal identifying information contained in workforce surveys completed by physicians as a condition of license renewal by the Department of Health. Allows disclosure under certain specified circumstances. (Atwater, R-North Palm Beach) Approved by Gov. Crist June 12.
CS/HB 1405 Exemption/Historic Landmarks – Donors: Creates a public records exemption for identifying information about a donor or prospective donor to publicly owned house museums designated National Historic Landmarks if such persons desire anonymity. (Bullard, D-Miami) Approved by Gov. Crist June 20.
SB 1510 Exemption/Sunshine State One-Call: Creates a public records exemption for proprietary confidential business information held by Sunshine State One-Call which describes damage to an underground facility or use of the member ticket management software system. Prohibits disclosure if the information 1) is treated by the company as confidential; 2) would be used by a competitor to harm the company’s interests; and 3) is not otherwise readily ascertainable or publicly available by proper means from another source in the same configuration as provided to Sunshine State One-Call of Florida, Inc. (Aronberg, D-Greenacres) Aproved by Gov. Crist June 12.
HB 7159 Exemption/Lifeline Assistance Plan: Creates a public record exemption for personal identifying information of participants in the Lifeline Assistance Plan held by the Public Service Commission. Provides for disclosure when authorized by the customer, necessary for billing purposes, or required by the court. (Reagan, R-Bradenton) Approved by Gov. Crist June 27.
HB 7169 Exemption/Worker’s Compensation: Creates public record exemptions for records held by the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association, Inc. that are 1) underwriting files; 2) claims files until termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims arising out of the same accident; 3) records obtained or generated by an auditor pursuant to a routine audit or investigation until such is complete; 4) proprietary information licensed to the association under contract; 5) medical records; 6) records relating to an employee’s participation in an employee assistance program; 7) information relating to negotiations for financing, reinsurance, etc., until conclusion of the negotiations; 8) reports provided to or submitted by the association regarding suspected fraud or other criminal activity until any investigation into such activity is closed; (9) payroll information and client lists of employee leasing companies received from the Department of Revenue; and 10) records prepared by an association attorney reflecting a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy, or legal theory of such. Allows disclosure under certain specified circumstances. Requires that all portions of meetings discussing confidential information be recorded and that the recordings be transcribed, but creates an exemption for such information from disclosure. (Reagan, R-Bradenton) Approved by Gov. Crist June 19.
HB 7193 Exemption/U.S. Census Information: Creates a public record exemption for U.S. Census bureau information, including maps showing structure location points, address verification records, and address error or omission records held by an agency pursuant to federal law. Allows for disclosure under certain specified circumstances. (Attkisson, R- St. Cloud) Approved by Gov. Crist June 27.
HB 7201 Exemption/Economic Development Agencies: Creates an exemption for 1) proprietary confidential business information held by an economic development agency until such information is no longer treated as such by the proprietor; 2) trade secrets and federal identification numbers; 3) unemployment compensation account numbers, or Florida sales tax registration numbers held by an economic development agency (EDA). In addition, creates an exemption for certain specified information held by an EDA pursuant to the administration of an economic incentive program for qualified business, stipulating that the exemption applies only for the duration of the incentive agreement and expires if the incentive agreement is terminated. (Attkisson, R- St. Cloud) Approved by Gov. Crist June 19.