TALLAHASSEE  –  The following is a summary of bills pertaining to public records and open meetings introduced during the 2014 legislative session.  Chief sponsors of the bills are indicated at the end of the summaries.  Copies of the legislation in full are available at the Florida Legislature’s website (www.leg.state.fl.us).

SB=Senate Bill; HB=House Bill; CS=Committee Substitute

The following is a summary of the 22 bills creating new exemptions to the state Public Records and Open Meetings laws.

2014 Florida Legislative Summary

TALLAHASSEE – The following is a summary of bills pertaining to public records and open meetings introduced during the 2014 legislative session.

The following 22 bills create new exemptions to the state Public Records and Open Meetings Laws.

CS/HB 115 University Direct Support Organizations: Creates an exemption for portions of meetings of a university direct support organization when the board discusses research funding proposals or support programs. Rep. Cary Pigman (R-Sebring)

CS/HB 117 Prepaid Wireless E911 Fee: Exempts all information from providers of prepaid wireless E911 services in returns, reports, accounts or declarations received by the Department of Revenue. Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota)

CS/SB 226 Automated License Plate Recognition Systems: Creates an exemption for personal identifying information obtained through the use of automated license plate recognition systems and the images obtained through the use of such systems. Allows disclosure of the information to a criminal justice agency under certain circumstances and to the person whom the vehicle is registered unless it is a part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)

CS/SB 238 Public Defenders Names of Spouses: Expands the current exemption of home addresses of public defenders to include the names of their spouses and children from the public record. Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa)

CS/SB 256 Forensic Behavioral Health Evaluations: Creates an exemption for forensic behavioral health evaluations filed with a court. Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah)

CS/SB 280 Treatment-Based Drug Court Programs: Creates an exemption for information relating to participants in treatment-based drug court programs and to persons being considered for treatment. Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah)

CS/SB 366 Trade Secrets Computers: Expands the current exemption for trade secrets relating to computers, systems and networks held by an agency to also exempt trade secrets relating to electronic devices. Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)

CS/SB 390 Department of Health Home Addresses: Creates an exemption for the home addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and photographs of current or former Department of Health employees whose duties include investigation or prosecution of complaints filed against healthcare practitioners, the inspection of licensed facilities, or the determination or adjudication of eligibility for social security benefits. The exemption also applies to the spouses and children of the employees and includes the names and locations of schools and day care facilities the children attend. Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla)

CS/HB 415 Investigations – Office of Financial Regulations: Creates an exemption for records related to the examination or investigation of financial institutions without notice until the examination is complete or inactive. Certain information like personal identifying information of consumers will remain exempt even after the examination is complete or inactive. Rep. Dave Santiago (R-Deltona)

SB 520 Dental Workforce Surveys: Creates an exemption for all personal identifying information contained in workforce surveys held by the Department of Health completed by dentists and dental hygienists. Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples)

CS/HB 525 Personal Identifying Information – Concealed Weapons Permits: Creates an exemption for personal identifying information for those who have applied for a concealed weapons permit held by a tax collector. Rep. J.W. Grant (R-Tampa)

CS/HB 711 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board: Creates an exemption for applications provided to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board within the Department of Health for Alzheimer’s research grants and all records generated by the board while reviewing such applications. Also creates an exemption for those portions of board meetings during which the applications are discussed, requiring that closed meetings be recorded and that the recording is subject to the same exemptions mentioned above. The board’s final recommendations will be subject to disclosure. Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples)

CS/HB 775 Propriety Confidential Business Information – State Boxing Commission: Creates an exemption for “proprietary confidential business information” held by the Florida State Boxing Commission that is treated by a boxing promoter as private in that disclosure would harm the promoter’s business information. This information includes the number of ticket sales for a match, the amount of gross receipts after a match, trade secrets, business plans, internal auditing controls and reports of internal auditors, and reports of external auditors. Rep. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast)

CS/HB 993 Animal Researchers – Personal Identifying Information: Creates an exemption for personal identifying information of those persons employed by, under contract with, or volunteering for a public research facility, including a state university, that conducts animal research or are engaged in activities related to animal research. The exemption includes animal records, animal care and treatment records, research protocols and approvals, purchase and billing records related to animal research or activities, animal care and use committee records and facility and laboratory records related to animal research or activities. Rep. Travis Cummings (R-Orange Park)

CS/SB 1140 Emergency Planning: Creates an exemption for information furnished by a person or business to the Division of Emergency Management for emergency planning purposes. Sen. Alan Hayes (R-Umatilla)

SB 1262 Insurance Flood Loss Model: Expands the exemption for trade secrets used in designing and constructing a hurricane flood loss model to include trade secrets related to flood loss models. Also exempts meetings at which such trade secrets are discussed. Sen Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)

CS/SB 1278 Examinations – Office of Financial Regulation: Creates and exemption for informal enforcement actions by the Office of Financial Regulation until the action is completed or inactive. Some information that would impair the safety and soundness of the financial institution will remain exempt. Also creates an exemption for trade secrets held by the Office of Financial Regulation. Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples)

CS/SB 1300 Proprietary Confidential Business Information – Office of Insurance Regulation: Creates an exemption for proprietary confidential business information held by the Office of Insurance Regulation relating to insurer solvency. Proprietary confidential business information includes trade secrets and other information owned or controlled by an insurer which is intended to be and is treated as private in that disclosure would cause harm to the insurer’s business operations and is not otherwise readily available. Sen. David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs)

CS/SB 1320 Family Trust Companies – Office of Financial Regulation: Creates an exemption for certain records relating to family trust companies held by the Office of Financial Regulation and stipulates that willful disclosure of such information is a third degree felony. The exempt information includes personal identifying information contained in records relating to registration, application or certification, examinations of family trust and reports of such examinations. Names of shareholders or members and emergency cease and desist orders are also exempt. Allows for disclosure under certain specified conditions. Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples)

CS/SB 1526 Data Breach Notifications: Creates an exemption for all information received by the Department of Legal Affairs pursuant to the requirement that they be notified of all breaches of data security. Also exempts records relating to investigations of such breaches held by the department of a criminal justice agency. Allows for disclosure under certain specified conditions during the investigation, but personal information, computer forensic reports, information revealing data security weaknesses, and proprietary business information is exempt even after the investigation is complete. Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine)

SB 1700 Personal Information – Compassionate Use Registry: Creates an exemption for the identifying information of physicians and patients contained in the registry allowing physicians to prescribe low-THC marijuana to certain patients. Allows for disclosure of such information under certain specified circumstances. Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville)

HB 7007 Personal Identifying Information – Toll Facilities: Expands the exemption for personal identifying information held by the Department of Transportation, a county or an expressway authority for the purpose of paying, prepaying or collecting tolls to also include cities collecting such information. H. Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommitee

The following seven open government bills do not create new exemptions to the state Public Records and Open Meetings law.

CS/HB 89 Threatened Use of Force: Allows accused persons who acted in lawful self-defense to have criminal history records expunged when a state attorney or court dismisses the charging document. Rep. Neil Combee, (R-Auburndale)

CS/SB 730 Governing Bodies/Public Meetings: Authorizes a city government body to hold joint meetings with the governing body of the county within which the city is located or the government body of another city to discuss, receive and act upon matters of mutual interest. Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton)

CS/HB 846 Government Ethics: Expands the requirement that constitutional officers and elected city officials receive annual ethics and open government training. Officials must certify completion of the requirement on his or her financial disclosure and financial statement report and failure to certify is not an immaterial error or omission. Also prohibits a member for failing to vote unless there is or appears to be a conflict of interest or another more stringent ethics standard adopted by the board or commission. If an official asserts a conflict, the member must comply with disclosure requirements or additional standards. Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)

CS/HB 863 Sworn Statements – Motor Vehicle Crash Reports: Amends the provision allowing media access to require a sworn statement from each requestor for each individual crash report requested within the 60 day window of protection created by an exemption for identifying information of persons involved in a motor vehicle accident that is contained in crash reports. Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Palm Springs)

CS/HB 865 Personal Identifying Information – Motor Vehicle Crash Reports: Amends the media exception to the exemption for personal identifying information contained in motor vehicle crash reports by redefining “free newspapers of general circulation.” Those newspapers that request 10 or more crash reports within a 2 hour period are prohibited from acquiring contact information of victims of car crashes for 60 days following a crash. Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Palm Springs)

CS/SB 1194 Citizen Support and Direct Support Organization: Changes the reporting requirements of citizen support and direct support organizations and the agencies and institutions such organizations support. Requires citizen support and direct support organizations to annually submit the organization’s contact information, the statutory order creating that organization, a brief description of the organization’s mission and the results obtained, a brief description of the organization’s plan for the next three years, a copy of the organization’s code of ethics and most recent Form 990 to the appropriate agency. Also requires each agency receiving information to post the information on its website, including a link to the support organization’s website. All contracts between a support organization and the agency are contingent upon the submission and posting of the required information. S. Governmental Oversight and Accountability

HB 7073 Information Technology Governance: Creates the Agency for State Technology with the Department of Management Services and transfers various shared resources centers to the new agency. The agency is a separate budget program and is not subject to control or direction by the Department of Management Services. The agency’s executive director will serve as the state’s chief information officer. H. Appropriations Committee

The following ten exemptions were re-enacted in 2014 under the Open Government Sunset Review Act (OGSR), which requires review of exemptions every five years.

SB 506 Florida Insurance Guaranty Association: Reenacts, without modification, the exemption for the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association for information including claims filed until termination of all litigation or closing of claims, medical records and other information contained in claim files, and privileged attorney-client communications. S. Banking and Insurance Committee

SB 646 Education Records – Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions: Reenacts, without modification, the exemption for student education records consistent with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and authorizing public postsecondary educational institutions to prescribe the content and custody of public records the institution maintains on its students and applicants for admissions. Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)

CS/SB 648 Education Records – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: Reenacts, without modification, an exemption for K-12 records as required by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)

CS/SB 650 Estate Inventories: Reenacts, without modification, an exemption or estate inventories and accountings filed with a clerk of court. S. Judiciary

CS/SB 656 Identifying Information – Testing Misconduct Investigations: Reenacts, without modification, an exemption for certain identifying information contained in allegations of misconduct related to the administration of tests by schools and postsecondary educational institutions until the investigations are complete or inactive. Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)

CS/SB 858 Florida Defense Support Task Force: Reenacts, without modification, exemptions for those portions of records relating to the strengths and weaknesses of state military installations of missions relative to the selection criteria under the base realignment and closure process held by the Florida Defense Support Task Force. Also reenacts a limited public meetings exemption for meetings of the Task Force at which the exempt records are discussed, and all records generated during the closed meetings are also exempt. S. Military and Veterans Affairs

SB 996 Scripps Florida Funding Corporation: Repeals an existing exemption for the Scripps Florida Funding Corporation and an exemption for meetings of the corporation’s board at which confidential information is discussed. S. Commerce and Tourism

SB 1108 Personal Identifying Information – Dependent Children: Reenacts, with minor technical modification, the exemption for personal identifying information of the dependent children of current or former agency employees. S. Community Affairs

SB 1678 Agency Personnel – Social Security Numbers: Reenacts and modifies the exemption for agency personnel social security numbers to allow disclosure of the exempt information under certain, specified conditions. S. Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee

HB 7177 Personal Identifying Information – Prescription Drug Monitoring Program: Reenacts, without modification, an exemption for patient identifying information in prescription drug monitoring program records, as well as information identifying physicians and pharmacists. H. State Affairs Committee

Sources: Florida First Amendment Foundation (http://floridafaf.org), Florida Senate (http://www.flsenate.gov), Florida House of Representatives (http://www.myfloridahouse.gov)