Florida Senate - 2012 CS for SB 1856 By the Committee on Health Regulation; and Senator Flores 588-02727-12 20121856c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public meetings and public records; 3 providing an exemption from public meeting 4 requirements for certain meetings of a peer review 5 panel under the James and Esther King Biomedical 6 Research Program and the William G. “Bill” Bankhead, 7 Jr., and David Coley Cancer Research Program; 8 providing an exemption from public records 9 requirements for certain records related to biomedical 10 research grant applications; providing an exemption 11 from public records requirements for research grant 12 applications provided to, and reviewed by, the peer 13 review panel; providing exceptions to the exemption; 14 providing for legislative review and repeal of the 15 exemptions; providing a statement of public necessity; 16 providing a contingent effective date. 17 18 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 19 20 Section 1. Exemptions from public records and public 21 meetings requirements; peer review panels.— 22 (1) That portion of a meeting of a peer review panel in 23 which applications for biomedical research grants under s. 24 215.5602 or s. 381.922, Florida Statutes, are discussed is 25 exempt from s. 286.011, Florida Statutes, and s. 24(b), Article 26 I of the State Constitution. 27 (2) Any records generated by the peer review panel relating 28 to review of applications for biomedical research grants, except 29 final recommendations, are confidential and exempt from s. 30 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the 31 State Constitution. 32 (3) Research grant applications provided to the peer review 33 panel are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida 34 Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution. 35 (4) Information which is held confidential and exempt under 36 this section may be disclosed with the express written consent 37 of the individual to whom the information pertains or the 38 individual’s legally authorized representative, or by court 39 order upon showing good cause. 40 (5) Subsections (1), (2), and (3) are subject to the Open 41 Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15, 42 Florida Statutes, and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2017, 43 unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the 44 Legislature. 45 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 46 necessity that meetings of peer review panels under the James 47 and Esther King Biomedical Research Program and the William G. 48 “Bill” Bankhead, Jr., and David Coley Cancer Research Program, 49 in which applications for the biomedical research grants are 50 discussed, certain records generated by the peer review panel 51 related to the review of applications for biomedical research 52 grants, and research grant applications provided to such peer 53 review panels be held confidential and exempt from disclosure. 54 The research grant applications contain information of a 55 confidential nature, including ideas and processes, the 56 disclosure of which could injure the affected researcher. 57 Maintaining confidentiality is a hallmark of scientific peer 58 review when awarding grants, is practiced by the National 59 Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and 60 allows for candid exchanges between reviewers critiquing 61 proposals. The Legislature further finds that closing access to 62 meetings of scientific peer review panels in which biomedical 63 research applications are discussed serves a public good by 64 ensuring that decisions are based upon merit without bias or 65 undue influence. Further, the Legislature finds that records 66 generated during meetings of the peer review panels related to 67 the review of applications for biomedical research grants must 68 be protected for the same reasons that justify the closing of 69 such meetings. 70 Section 3. This act shall take effect on the same date that 71 CS for SB 616 or similar legislation takes effect, if such 72 legislation is adopted in the same legislative session or an 73 extension thereof and becomes law.