Florida Senate - 2016                      CS for CS for SB 1220
       By the Committees on Judiciary; and Governmental Oversight and
       Accountability; and Senator Garcia
       590-03314-16                                          20161220c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records; amending s. 119.12,
    3         F.S.; requiring a complainant to provide specified
    4         written notice to an agency’s custodian of public
    5         records in order to be awarded the reasonable costs of
    6         enforcement in a civil action for enforcement of ch.
    7         119, F.S.; specifying circumstances under which a
    8         court may not assess and award the reasonable costs of
    9         enforcement against a responsible agency; providing an
   10         exception to the requirement that a complainant
   11         provide written notice before filing a civil action;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Section 119.12, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   17  read:
   18         119.12 Attorney Attorney’s fees.—
   19         (1) If a civil action is filed against an agency to enforce
   20  the provisions of this chapter and if the court determines that
   21  the complainant provided written notice clearly and
   22  conspicuously identifying the public record request to the
   23  agency’s custodian of public records at least 5 business days
   24  before filing the civil action, except as provided under
   25  subsection (3), and that the such agency unlawfully refused to
   26  permit a public record to be inspected or copied, the court
   27  shall assess and award, against the agency responsible, the
   28  reasonable costs of enforcement, including reasonable attorney
   29  attorneys’ fees, against the responsible agency.
   30         (2) The court may not assess and award any reasonable costs
   31  of enforcement, including reasonable attorney fees, against the
   32  responsible agency if the court determines that:
   33         (a) The civil action or the request to inspect or copy a
   34  public record was frivolous, malicious, or reasonably appears to
   35  have been intended to harass the agency, or was brought or made
   36  for the primary purpose of causing a violation of this chapter;
   37  or
   38         (b) Any alleged delay or error in permitting a public
   39  record to be inspected or copied was a technical violation of
   40  this chapter which constituted harmless error under the
   41  circumstances.
   42         (3) The complainant is not required to provide written
   43  notice of the public record request to the agency’s custodian of
   44  public records as provided in subsection (1) if the agency does
   45  not post the contact information for the agency’s custodian of
   46  public records in the agency’s primary administrative building
   47  in which public records are routinely created, sent, received,
   48  maintained, and requested or on the agency’s website.
   49         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.