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2008 Florida Legislative Summary

TALLAHASSEE – The following five bills enacted during the 2008 legislative session create new exemptions or expand existing exemptions to the state Public Records and Open Meetings laws.  The bills become law unless vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist.  Copies of the legislation are available at the Florida Legislature’s Web site (www.leg.state.fl.us).  Chief sponsors of the bills are in parentheses at the end of the summaries.  SB=Senate Bill; HB=House Bill; CS = Committee Substitute.

The following five bills create new exemptions or expand existing exemptions to the state Public Records and Open Meetings laws.  The bills become law unless vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist.

CS/SB 766 Exemption/Judicial and Administrative Officials:  Amends s. 119.071, F.S., creating a public record exemption for home addresses and telephone numbers of general magistrates, special magistrates, judges of compensation claims, administrative law judges of the Division of Administrative Hearings, and child support enforcement hearing officers, and the home addresses, telephone numbers, places of employment, and/or schools and daycare facilities of the spouses and children of these officials, if the official provides a written statement that he has made reasonable efforts to protect the information from being accessible by the public.  (Rich, D-Sunrise)  Approved by Gov. Crist May 28.

CS/HB 863 Exemption/Direct-Support Organization/DVA:  Amends s. 292.055, F.S., creating a public records exemption for the identities of, and information about, certain donors and prospective donors to the direct-support organization of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, including those parts of direct-support organization meetings during which the donors’ or potential donors’ identities are discussed.  (Reagan, R-Sarasota)  Approved by Gov. Crist May 28.

CS/HB 1141 Exemption/Sexual Violence Victim:  Amends s. 741.313, F.S., expanding exemption to include certain records and time sheets documenting leave due to acts of sexual violence, submitted to an agency by an employee who is the victim.  (Jenne, D-Davie)

CS/SB 2610 Exemption/Organ & Tissue Donor Registry:  Creates exemption for donor-identifying information in the organ and tissue donor registry.  Allows disclosure under certain circumstances to organ, tissue, and eye procurement agencies certified by the Agency for Health Care Administration or persons conducting research.  (Oelrich, R-Gainesville)  Presented to Gov. Crist June 13.

HB 7033 Exemption/Complaint of Discrimination:  Amends s. 119.0711(1), F.S., expanding exemption for complaints and other records about discrimination relating to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status in connection with hiring preferences, position classifications, salary, benefits, discipline, discharge, employee performance, evaluations, or other related activities, to any governmental agency as defined in ch. 119, F.S., until a finding is made regarding probable cause, the investigation about the complaint becomes inactive, or the complaint or record is made part of the official record of any hearing or court proceeding. (H. Government Efficiency & Accountability Council and Gardiner, R-Orlando)  Approved by Gov. Crist June 10.

The following four bills concerning Public Records and Open Meetings laws were enacted or amended during the 2008 legislative session.

CS/HB 1203 Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children:  Directs the governor to establish the Interstate Commission on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.  The Commission is subject to Florida’s open government laws with some notable exceptions.  (Proctor, R-St. Augustine)

CS/SB 1442 Exploited Children:  Amends s. 92.56, F.S., permitting use of a pseudonym, including in civil or criminal proceedings, to refer to the victim of the crime of production, possession, or promotion of child pornography.  Amends s. 847.002, requiring law enforcement officers in certain circumstances to provide information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, prosecutors, and the Attorney General’s database.  (Dockery, R-Lakeland)  Presented to Gov. Crist June 11.

CS/SB 1616 Weapon & Firearm Licenses/Interagency Data Sharing:  Amends s. 790.065, F.S., authorizing Department of Law Enforcement to provide data collected from court records to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to determine eligibility for concealed weapon and firearm licenses for a legally-incapacitated person or a person committed to a mental institution.  (S. Committee on Criminal Justice)  Approved by Gov. Crist May 28.

CS/SB 2676 Citizens’ Right-to-Know Act/Pretrial Release:  Requires register of information about defendants released through pretrial release programs be created and made available to the public and requires the programs to submit an annual report to the Office of the State Courts Administrator and the Clerk of the Circuit Court.  (Crist, R-Tampa)  Presented to Gov. Crist June 13.

The following six exemptions were reenacted during the 2008 session under the Open Government Sunset Review Act.

CS/SB 1042 OGSR/Putative Father Registry:  Reenacts and amends s. 63.0541, F.S., providing an exemption for information contained in the Florida Putative Father Registry.  Narrows exemption to allow access by the birth mother to any registry entry in which she is identified upon receipt of notarized request.  (S. Children, Family, and Elder Affairs Committee)  Presented to Gov. Crist June 11.

SB 1046 OGSR/Foster Parents:  Reenacts and amends s. 409.175, F.S., narrowing exemption for information held by the Department of Children and Family Services regarding foster parent applications, foster parents, and persons providing character or neighbor references.  Removes exemption for social security numbers.  (S. Children, Family, and Elder Affairs Committee)  Presented to Gov. Crist June 11.

CS/SB 1618 OGSR/Victims of Child Abuse or Sex Crimes:  Reenacts and amends s. 119.071(2)(h), F.S., providing an exemption for information, including still and video images, regarding victims of child abuse or sexual offense, and expanding exemption to include sexual offenses prohibited under provisions for prostitution and obscenity, ch. 796 and 847, F.S.  Creates exception for law enforcement and other government agencies and for the media if a law enforcement agency believes disclosure would help locate a missing or endangered person.  Amends s. 92.56, F.S., requiring exempt status to be maintained in court records and proceedings under certain circumstances.  Amends 119.0714, F.S., creating exemption for confidential and exempt criminal intelligence information or investigative information part of a court file.  Amends 794.03, F.S., allowing publication of information about sexual offense victim if a court determines the information is no longer confidential and exempt.  (S. Committee on Criminal Justice)

CS/SB 1630 OGSR/Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services:  Reenacts and amends s. 500.148, F.S., providing exemption for confidential information provided to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services during investigation on food safety or food-borne illness, as a requirement for federal-state contract or partnership activity, or for regulatory review.  (S. Committee on Agriculture)  Presented to Gov. Crist June 13.

HB 7053 OGSR/Florida Kidcare Program:  Reenacts and amends s. 409.821, F.S., reorganizing exemption and authorizing release of Florida Kidcare program applicant or enrollee information to any governmental entity in the performance of its official duties and to the legal guardian of an enrollee.  (H. Government Efficiency & Accountability Council and Gardiner, R-Orlando)  Approved by Gov. Crist June 10.