Bill Text: FL S0236 | 2019 | Regular Session | Comm Sub


Bill Title: Public Records and Public Meetings

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-06 - Now in Rules [S0236 Detail]

Download: Florida-2019-S0236-Comm_Sub.html
       Florida Senate - 2019                              CS for SB 236
       
       
        
       By the Committee on Criminal Justice; and Senator Book
       
       
       
       
       
       591-02310-19                                           2019236c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records and public meetings;
    3         amending s. 112.324, F.S.; providing an exception to
    4         the expiration of certain public records and public
    5         meetings exemptions under specified circumstances;
    6         prohibiting the disclosure of the personal identifying
    7         information of an alleged victim of sexual harassment
    8         or sexual misconduct, or information that could assist
    9         an individual in determining the identity of such
   10         alleged victim, in any portion of a proceeding
   11         conducted by the Commission on Ethics, a commission on
   12         ethics and public trust, or a county or a municipality
   13         that has established a local investigatory process
   14         which is open to the public; providing for future
   15         legislative review and repeal; amending s. 119.071,
   16         F.S.; providing an exemption from public records
   17         requirements for complaints, referrals, and reports
   18         alleging sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, and
   19         any related records, which are held by an agency;
   20         specifying conditions upon which the exemption
   21         expires; providing that the personal identifying
   22         information of an alleged victim of sexual harassment
   23         or sexual misconduct, or information that could assist
   24         an individual in determining the identity of such
   25         alleged victim, remains confidential and exempt from
   26         public records requirements; authorizing disclosure
   27         under specified circumstances; providing for future
   28         legislative review and repeal; amending s. 286.0113,
   29         F.S.; providing an exemption from public meetings
   30         requirements for any portion of a meeting that would
   31         reveal records involving an allegation of sexual
   32         harassment or sexual misconduct made confidential and
   33         exempt under the act; specifying conditions upon which
   34         the exemption expires; prohibiting the disclosure of
   35         the personal identifying information of an alleged
   36         victim of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, or
   37         information that could assist an individual in
   38         determining the identity of such alleged victim, in
   39         any portion of a meeting open to the public; providing
   40         for future legislative review and repeal; providing
   41         statements of public necessity; providing an effective
   42         date.
   43          
   44  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   45  
   46         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 112.324, Florida
   47  Statutes, is amended to read:
   48         112.324 Procedures on complaints of violations and
   49  referrals; public records and meeting exemptions.—
   50         (2)(a) The complaint and records relating to the complaint
   51  or to any preliminary investigation held by the commission or
   52  its agents, by a Commission on Ethics and Public Trust
   53  established by any county defined in s. 125.011(1) or by any
   54  municipality defined in s. 165.031, or by any county or
   55  municipality that has established a local investigatory process
   56  to enforce more stringent standards of conduct and disclosure
   57  requirements as provided in s. 112.326 are confidential and
   58  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
   59  Constitution.
   60         (b) Written referrals and records relating to such
   61  referrals held by the commission or its agents, the Governor,
   62  the Department of Law Enforcement, or a state attorney, and
   63  records relating to any preliminary investigation of such
   64  referrals held by the commission or its agents, are confidential
   65  and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
   66  Constitution.
   67         (c) Any portion of a proceeding conducted by the
   68  commission, a Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, or a county
   69  or municipality that has established such local investigatory
   70  process, pursuant to a complaint or preliminary investigation,
   71  is exempt from s. 286.011, s. 24(b), Art. I of the State
   72  Constitution, and s. 120.525.
   73         (d) Any portion of a proceeding of the commission in which
   74  a determination regarding a referral is discussed or acted upon
   75  is exempt from s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State
   76  Constitution, and s. 120.525.
   77         (e) The exemptions in paragraphs (a)-(d) apply until:
   78         1. The complaint is dismissed as legally insufficient;
   79         2. Except in connection with complaints or referrals that
   80  involve allegations of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct,
   81  the alleged violator requests in writing that such records and
   82  proceedings be made public;
   83         3. The commission determines that it will not investigate
   84  the referral; or
   85         4. The commission, a commission on ethics and public trust,
   86  or a county or municipality that has established such local
   87  investigatory process determines, based on such investigation,
   88  whether probable cause exists to believe that a violation has
   89  occurred.
   90         (f) Notwithstanding paragraph (e), the personal identifying
   91  information of an alleged victim of sexual harassment or sexual
   92  misconduct or any information that could assist an individual in
   93  determining the identity of such alleged victim remains
   94  confidential and exempt as provided under s. 119.071(2)(n)3. and
   95  may not be disclosed in a portion of a proceeding conducted by
   96  the commission, a commission on ethics and public trust, or a
   97  county or municipality that has established such local
   98  investigatory process which is open to the public.
   99         (g) This subsection is subject to the Open Government
  100  Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand
  101  repealed on October 2, 2024, unless reviewed and saved from
  102  repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
  103         (h)(f) A complaint or referral under this part against a
  104  candidate in any general, special, or primary election may not
  105  be filed nor may any intention of filing such a complaint or
  106  referral be disclosed on the day of any such election or within
  107  the 30 days immediately preceding the date of the election,
  108  unless the complaint or referral is based upon personal
  109  information or information other than hearsay.
  110         Section 2. Paragraph (n) of subsection (2) of section
  111  119.071, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  112         119.071 General exemptions from inspection or copying of
  113  public records.—
  114         (2) AGENCY INVESTIGATIONS.—
  115         (n)1. Complaints, referrals, and reports that allege sexual
  116  harassment or sexual misconduct, including allegations of sexual
  117  harassment or sexual misconduct in violation of part III of
  118  chapter 112, and any related records that are held by an agency
  119  are Personal identifying information of the alleged victim in an
  120  allegation of sexual harassment is confidential and exempt from
  121  s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
  122  Such information may be disclosed to another governmental entity
  123  in the furtherance of its official duties and responsibilities.
  124         2. Except as provided in subparagraph 3., the exemption in
  125  subparagraph 1. applies until:
  126         a. The agency determines that it will not investigate the
  127  allegation;
  128         b. The agency takes disciplinary action against the subject
  129  of the allegation and determines that it will take no further
  130  action in the matter; or
  131         c. A finding is made as to whether probable cause exists.
  132         3. Notwithstanding the release of any record pursuant to
  133  subparagraph 2., the personal identifying information of an
  134  alleged victim of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct or any
  135  information that could assist an individual in determining the
  136  identity of such alleged victim, shall remain confidential and
  137  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
  138  Constitution. Such information may be disclosed to another
  139  governmental entity in the furtherance of the agency’s official
  140  duties and responsibilities or to the parties to the allegation
  141  and their attorneys.
  142         4. This paragraph is subject to the Open Government Sunset
  143  Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed
  144  on October 2, 2024 2022, unless reviewed and saved from repeal
  145  through reenactment by the Legislature.
  146         Section 3. Subsection (3) is added to section 286.0113,
  147  Florida Statutes, to read:
  148         286.0113 General exemptions from public meetings.—
  149         (3)(a)Any portion of a meeting that would reveal any
  150  records involving an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual
  151  misconduct which are made confidential and exempt by s.
  152  119.071(2)(n)1. is exempt from s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I
  153  of the State Constitution until the agency:
  154         1. Determines it will not investigate the allegation;
  155         2. Takes disciplinary action against the subject of the
  156  allegation and determines it will take no further action; or
  157         3. Makes a finding as to probable cause.
  158         (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the personal identifying
  159  information of an alleged victim of sexual harassment or sexual
  160  misconduct or any information that could assist an individual in
  161  determining the identity of such alleged victim remains
  162  confidential and exempt as provided under s. 119.071(2)(n)3. and
  163  may not be disclosed in a portion of a meeting that is open to
  164  the public.
  165         (c) This subsection is subject to the Open Government
  166  Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand
  167  repealed on October 2, 2024, unless reviewed and saved from
  168  repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
  169         Section 4. (1) The Legislature finds that it is a public
  170  necessity that complaints, referrals, and reports alleging
  171  sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, and any related records
  172  that are held by an agency, be made confidential and exempt from
  173  s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the
  174  State Constitution until the agency determines that it will not
  175  investigate the allegation; takes disciplinary action against
  176  the subject of the allegation and determines it will take no
  177  further action; or makes a finding as to probable cause. This
  178  exemption is necessary because the release of such information
  179  could potentially be defamatory to an individual under
  180  investigation; could subject alleged victims to further sexual
  181  harassment or retaliation; or could significantly impair the
  182  integrity of any investigation of such allegations.
  183  Additionally, the potential for disclosure of such information
  184  could create a disincentive for alleged victims to report
  185  instances of alleged harassment or misconduct. The Legislature
  186  finds that the potential harm that may result from the release
  187  of such information outweighs any public benefit that may be
  188  derived from the disclosure of such information.
  189         (2) The Legislature also finds that it is a public
  190  necessity that any portion of a meeting that would reveal any
  191  records involving an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual
  192  misconduct which are made confidential and exempt under s.
  193  119.071(2)(n)1., Florida Statutes, be made exempt under s.
  194  286.011, Florida Statutes, and s. 24(b), Article I of the State
  195  Constitution until the agency determines that it will not
  196  investigate the allegation; takes disciplinary action against
  197  the subject of the allegation and determines it will take no
  198  further action; or makes a finding as to probable cause.
  199  Furthermore, the Legislature finds that it is a public necessity
  200  to prohibit the disclosure of the personal identifying
  201  information of an alleged victim of sexual harassment or sexual
  202  misconduct, or any information that could assist an individual
  203  in determining the identity of such alleged victim, in any
  204  portion of a proceeding conducted by the Commission on Ethics, a
  205  commission on ethics and public trust, or a county or
  206  municipality that has established a local investigatory process
  207  which is open to the public, or any portion of a meeting of any
  208  board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any
  209  agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or
  210  political subdivision which is open to the public. The failure
  211  to close a meeting at which records involving an allegation of
  212  sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are discussed or acted
  213  upon would defeat the purpose of the public records exemption.
  214  The Legislature also finds that it is necessary to maintain the
  215  confidentiality of an alleged victim’s identity after an agency
  216  determines that it will not investigate the allegation; takes
  217  disciplinary action against the subject of the allegation and
  218  determines it will take no further action; or makes a finding as
  219  to probable cause, because a victim may remain at risk of
  220  further harassment and retaliation, and the disclosure of the
  221  victim’s identity may cause damage to his or her reputation.
  222         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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