SUNSHINE SUNDAY; A FOCUS ON FLORIDA'S PUBLIC RECORDS LAW Access, Privacy 'A Balancing Act'
Black, Joe, The Florida Times Union
Byline: Joe Black, Times-Union staff writer
Florida has one of the oldest and strongest public records laws in the country. It can be used to research nursing homes and day-care centers, identify doctors who have been sued for malpractice, do background checks on prospective employees and more.
Today, newspapers across the state call attention to the law and the exemptions the Legislature seeks to enact.
TALLAHASSEE -- From closing public utility records to medical incident reports, lawmakers are proposing the highest number of bills ever to change Florida's open government laws.
Under Florida's public records law, introduced in 1909 and known as one of the most open in the country, all government records are open for inspection unless specifically exempt.
In 1992, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that guarantees access to information and records from all three branches of the state government and places the burden on lawmakers to make specific exemptions if deemed necessary.
About 115 bills to close records and meetings have been filed for the 2003 legislative session as of Tuesday, according to the First Amendment Foundation, an open government watchdog group. Last year, 107 bills had been filed by this time.
Exemptions must pass through both legislative houses by a two-thirds vote and be …
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Publication information: Article title: SUNSHINE SUNDAY; A FOCUS ON FLORIDA'S PUBLIC RECORDS LAW Access, Privacy 'A Balancing Act'. Contributors: Black, Joe - Author. Newspaper title: The Florida Times Union. Publication date: March 16, 2003. Page number: Not available. © 2007 The Florida Times-Union. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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