Florida Senate - 2015 SB 1536 By Senator Flores 37-01491-15 20151536__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public records; amending s. 895.06, 3 F.S.; providing that certain documents and information 4 held by an investigative agency pursuant to an 5 investigation relating to an activity prohibited under 6 the Florida RICO Act are confidential and exempt; 7 providing for legislative review and repeal of the 8 exemption under the Open Government Sunset Review Act; 9 providing exceptions to the exemption; providing a 10 statement of public necessity; providing an effective 11 date. 12 13 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 14 15 Section 1. Subsection (8) is added to section 895.06, 16 Florida Statutes, to read: 17 895.06 Civil investigative subpoenas.— 18 (8)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the 19 documents and information held by the investigative agency 20 pursuant to an investigation of a violation of s. 895.03 are 21 confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution 22 s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This paragraph is subject to the Open 23 Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and 24 shall stand repealed on July 1, 2020, unless reviewed and saved 25 from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. 26 (b) Information made confidential and exempt under 27 paragraph (a) may be disclosed by the investigative agency to a 28 law enforcement agency or another administrative agency in the 29 performance of its official duties and responsibilities. 30 (c) Information made confidential and exempt under 31 paragraph (a) may be disclosed by the investigative agency to a 32 court or tribunal. 33 (d) Information made confidential and exempt under 34 paragraph (a) is no longer confidential and exempt once all 35 investigations to which the information pertains are completed, 36 unless the information is otherwise protected by law. 37 (e) For purposes of this subsection, an investigation is 38 considered complete once the investigative agency either files 39 an action or closes its investigation without filing an action. 40 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 41 necessity that the documents and other information held by an 42 investigative agency pursuant to an investigation of a violation 43 of s. 895.03, Florida Statutes, relating to an activity 44 prohibited under the Florida RICO Act, be held confidential and 45 exempt from public records requirements. Because a Florida RICO 46 Act investigation conducted by an investigative agency may lead 47 to the filing of a civil action, the premature release of the 48 documents or information held by such investigative agency could 49 frustrate or thwart the investigation and impair the ability of 50 the investigative agency to effectively and efficiently 51 administer its duties under the Florida RICO Act, ss. 895.01 52 895.09, Florida Statutes. This exemption also protects the 53 reputation of the potential defendant in the event the 54 investigation is closed without the filing of a civil action. 55 Further, without this exemption, a potential defendant under the 56 Florida RICO Act may learn of the investigation and dissipate 57 his or her assets and thwart any future enforcement action under 58 the act. Additionally, this exemption substantially mirrors the 59 existing statutory exemption in ss. 68.083(8) and 68.0831(10), 60 Florida Statutes, for information obtained during investigations 61 of violations of the Florida False Claims Act, ss. 68.081 62 68.092, Florida Statutes. Therefore, the Legislature finds that 63 it is a public necessity that the documents and information held 64 by the investigative agency pursuant to an investigation of a 65 violation of s. 895.03, Florida Statutes, relating to an 66 activity prohibited under the Florida RICO Act, be held 67 confidential and exempt from public records requirements. 68 Section 3. This act shall take effect on the same date that 69 SB ____ or similar legislation takes effect, if such legislation 70 is enacted in the same legislative session or an extension 71 thereof and becomes law.