Florida Senate - 2014 SB 538 By Senator Latvala 20-00502-14 2014538__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public records; creating s. 3 197.3225, F.S.; providing an exemption from public 4 records requirements for e-mail addresses obtained by 5 the tax collector for the purpose of electronically 6 sending tax notices or obtaining the consent of the 7 taxpayer to the electronic transmission of tax 8 notices; providing for future review and repeal of the 9 exemption; providing a statement of public necessity; 10 providing an effective date. 11 12 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 13 14 Section 1. Section 197.3225, Florida Statutes, is created 15 to read: 16 197.3225 Confidentiality of e-mail addresses.— 17 (1) Notwithstanding s. 668.6076, a taxpayer’s e-mail 18 address held by a tax collector for the following purposes is 19 confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I 20 of the State Constitution: 21 (a) Sending a quarterly tax notice for prepayment of 22 estimated taxes under s. 197.222(3) to the taxpayer. 23 (b) Obtaining the taxpayer’s consent to send the tax notice 24 described in s. 197.322(3). 25 (c) Sending an additional tax notice or delinquent tax 26 notice to the taxpayer under s. 197.343. 27 (d) Sending a tax notice to a designated third party, 28 mortgagee, or vendee as provided under s. 197.344(1). 29 (2) An e-mail address provided by a taxpayer to the tax 30 collector via the tax collector’s website or other 31 correspondence for a purpose other than those listed in 32 subsection (1) is not exempt from the state’s public record law 33 pursuant to s. 668.6076. 34 (3) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset 35 Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed 36 on October 2, 2019, unless reviewed and saved from repeal 37 through reenactment by the Legislature. 38 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 39 necessity that the e-mail address of a taxpayer which is held by 40 the tax collector for the purpose of sending a tax notice or 41 obtaining the consent of the taxpayer to the electronic 42 transmission of a tax notice be made confidential and exempt 43 from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of 44 the State Constitution. E-mail rather than traditional postal 45 mail is increasingly used as a means for communicating and 46 conducting business, including official state business such as 47 the payment of taxes. In order to carry out business 48 electronically with the tax collector, the taxpayer must report 49 his or her personal e-mail address. Under current law, e-mail 50 addresses are public records available to anyone for any 51 purpose. However, such addresses are unique to the individual 52 and, when combined with other personal identifying information, 53 can be used for identity theft, taxpayer scams, and other 54 invasive contacts. The public availability of personal e-mail 55 addresses invites and exacerbates thriving and well-documented 56 criminal activities putting property owners at increased risk of 57 harm. Such harm could be significantly curtailed by allowing the 58 tax collector to remove the availability of taxpayer e-mail 59 addresses. 60 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.