Florida Senate - 2017 SB 550 By Senator Bracy 11-00666-17 2017550__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public records; amending s. 3 119.071, F.S.; providing an exemption from public 4 records requirements for personal identifying 5 information of a witness to a murder for a specified 6 period; authorizing specified entities to receive the 7 information; providing for future legislative review 8 and repeal of the exemption; amending s. 119.0714, 9 F.S.; providing that the public records exemption 10 applies to personal identifying information of a 11 witness to a murder that is made part of a court file; 12 providing a statement of public necessity; providing 13 an effective date. 14 15 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 16 17 Section 1. Paragraph (m) is added to subsection (2) of 18 section 119.071, Florida Statutes, to read: 19 119.071 General exemptions from inspection or copying of 20 public records.— 21 (2) AGENCY INVESTIGATIONS.— 22 (m)1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this 23 subsection, the personal identifying information of a witness to 24 a murder, as described in s. 782.04, is confidential and exempt 25 from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution 26 for 2 years after the date on which the murder is observed by 27 the witness. The personal identifying information may be 28 disclosed only to a criminal justice agency or governmental 29 entity for use in the performance of its official duties and 30 responsibilities. 31 2. This paragraph is subject to the Open Government Sunset 32 Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed 33 on October 2, 2022, unless reviewed and saved from repeal 34 through reenactment by the Legislature. 35 Section 2. Paragraph (k) is added to subsection (1) of 36 section 119.0714, Florida Statutes, to read: 37 119.0714 Court files; court records; official records.— 38 (1) COURT FILES.—Nothing in this chapter shall be construed 39 to exempt from s. 119.07(1) a public record that was made a part 40 of a court file and that is not specifically closed by order of 41 court, except: 42 (k) Personal identifying information of a witness to a 43 murder as provided in s. 119.071(2)(m). 44 Section 3. The Legislature finds that it is a public 45 necessity that personal identifying information of a witness to 46 a murder, as described in s. 782.04, Florida Statutes, be made 47 confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and 48 s. 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution for 2 years after 49 the date on which the murder is observed by the witness. The 50 judicial system cannot function without the participation of 51 witnesses. Complete cooperation and truthful testimony of 52 witnesses is essential to the determination of the facts of a 53 case. The public disclosure of personal identifying information 54 of a witness to a murder could have an undesirable chilling 55 effect on witnesses stepping forward and providing their 56 eyewitness accounts of murders. A witness to a murder may be 57 unwilling to cooperate fully with law enforcement officers if 58 the witness knows his or her personal identifying information 59 can be made publicly available. A witness may be less likely to 60 call a law enforcement officer and report a murder if his or her 61 personal identifying information is made available in connection 62 with the murder that is being reported or under investigation. 63 The Legislature further finds that a witness could become the 64 subject of intimidation tactics or threats by the perpetrator of 65 the murder if the witness’s personal identifying information is 66 publicly available. For these reasons, the Legislature finds 67 that it is a public necessity that the personal identifying 68 information of a witness to a murder, as described in s. 782.04, 69 Florida Statutes, be made confidential and exempt from public 70 record requirements. 71 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.