Florida Senate - 2011                             CS for SB 1970
       By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Senator Thrasher
       585-02316-11                                          20111970c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records; amending s. 11.51,
    3         F.S.; creating an exemption from public-records
    4         requirements for work papers held by the Office of
    5         Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
    6         which relate to an authorized project or a research
    7         product; providing for retroactive application;
    8         providing a statement of public necessity; providing a
    9         contingent effective date.
   11  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   13         Section 1. Subsection (7) is added to section 11.51,
   14  Florida Statutes, to read:
   15         11.51 Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
   16  Accountability.—
   17         (7)Work papers held by the Office of Program Policy
   18  Analysis and Government Accountability which relate to an
   19  authorized project or a research product are exempt from s.
   20  24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. The exemption applies
   21  to work papers held by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and
   22  Government Accountability before, on, or after the effective
   23  date of the exemption.
   24         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
   25  necessity that certain work papers held by the Office of Program
   26  Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) be made
   27  exempt from s. 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution. As
   28  required by the Legislature, OPPAGA may provide independent
   29  evaluative research and objective analyses to promote government
   30  accountability and the efficient and effective use of public
   31  resources. In order for OPPAGA to accomplish this mission, it is
   32  necessary that individuals and businesses share information with
   33  OPPAGA staff without concerns of competitive disadvantage,
   34  disclosure, or reprisals. Private sector business entities have
   35  legitimate concerns that information provided to assist the
   36  Legislature in directing policy initiatives has protection from
   37  those in the marketplace who could gain financially from the
   38  ability to access information collected by OPPAGA. In addition,
   39  supervisors and others often want to know the information given
   40  by their employees as part of an OPPAGA project for the
   41  Legislature. If such information were available as a public
   42  record, fewer people would be willing to provide information
   43  needed by the Legislature to evaluate ongoing programs. Also,
   44  during the project process, much information is collected that
   45  must be validated before it is relied upon by the office and
   46  some information is not validated. Without a public-records
   47  exemption, any person could inspect and copy the record
   48  containing the unverified information and risk placing on the
   49  public record unproven allegations that could harm, embarrass,
   50  humiliate, or cause serious personal or commercial consequences
   51  to the individual or business as a result of their discussions
   52  with OPPAGA. Providing a public-records exemption for OPPAGA
   53  work papers will facilitate the ability of OPPAGA to acquire
   54  important project information for the Legislature and protect
   55  the public from inappropriate disclosure of proprietary and
   56  confidential information and from allegations that may not be
   57  proven with further investigation. An exemption of limited
   58  duration would not be sufficient to protect the previously
   59  identified interests. Thus, the Legislature finds that it is a
   60  public necessity to make exempt from public-records requirements
   61  work papers held by OPPAGA which relate to an authorized project
   62  or to a research product.
   63         Section 3. This act shall take effect on the same date that
   64  Senate Bill 1204 or similar legislation takes effect, if such
   65  legislation is adopted in the same legislative session, or an
   66  extension thereof, and becomes law.