Florida Senate - 2017                               CS for SB 80
       By the Committee on Community Affairs; and Senator Steube
       578-02148-17                                            201780c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records; amending s. 119.12,
    3         F.S.; requiring a complainant to timely provide
    4         written notice of a public records request in order to
    5         be entitled to the reasonable costs of enforcement,
    6         including attorney fees, in certain civil actions for
    7         enforcement of ch. 119, F.S.; providing that the award
    8         of such attorney fees is within the discretion of the
    9         court; specifying factors for a court to consider in
   10         determining whether an agency unlawfully refused to
   11         permit a public record to be inspected or copied;
   12         authorizing a court to assess and award attorney fees
   13         against a complainant if certain conditions exist;
   14         specifying circumstances under which a court must
   15         assess and award the reasonable costs of enforcement
   16         against an agency; providing an effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. Section 119.12, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   21  read:
   22         119.12 Attorney Attorney’s fees.—
   23         (1) If a civil action is filed against an agency to enforce
   24  the provisions of this chapter and if the court determines that
   25  the complainant provided written notice of the public records
   26  request to the agency’s custodian of public records at least 5
   27  business days before filing the civil action and the such agency
   28  unlawfully refused to permit a public record to be inspected or
   29  copied, the court may shall assess and award, against the
   30  responsible agency responsible, the reasonable costs of
   31  enforcement, including reasonable attorney attorneys’ fees.
   32         (2)(a) In determining whether the responsible agency
   33  unlawfully refused to permit a public record to be inspected or
   34  copied, the court shall consider if the request to inspect or
   35  copy the public record was made in bad faith or was made to
   36  harass the agency or to cause a violation of this chapter and if
   37  the responsible agency responded in good faith to the request to
   38  inspect or copy the records.
   39         (b) The court may assess and award reasonable attorney fees
   40  against the complainant filing such an action if the court finds
   41  the action was filed in bad faith or was frivolous.
   42         (c) If the complainant shows by the preponderance of the
   43  evidence that the agency intentionally or willfully refused to
   44  permit a public record listed in the notice to be inspected or
   45  copied, the court shall, after making such a finding, assess and
   46  award the reasonable costs of enforcement against the
   47  responsible agency, including reasonable attorney fees.
   48         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.