Florida Senate - 2017 CS for SB 886 By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and Senator Powell 586-02389-17 2017886c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public records; creating s. 3 397.6760, F.S.; providing an exemption from public 4 records requirements for petitions for involuntary 5 assessment and stabilization, court orders, related 6 records, and personal identifying information 7 regarding substance abuse impaired persons; providing 8 exceptions authorizing the release of such petitions, 9 orders, records, and identifying information to 10 certain persons and entities; providing applicability; 11 prohibiting a clerk of court from publishing personal 12 identifying information on a court docket or in a 13 publicly accessible file; providing for retroactive 14 application; providing for future legislative review 15 and repeal of the exemption; providing a statement of 16 public necessity; providing an effective date. 17 18 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 19 20 Section 1. Section 397.6760, Florida Statutes, is created 21 to read: 22 397.6760 Court records; confidentiality.— 23 (1) All petitions for involuntary assessment and 24 stabilization, court orders, and related records that are filed 25 with or by a court under this part are confidential and exempt 26 from s. 119.071(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State 27 Constitution. Pleadings and other documents made confidential 28 and exempt by this section may be disclosed by the clerk of the 29 court, upon request, to any of the following: 30 (a) The petitioner. 31 (b) The petitioner’s attorney. 32 (c) The respondent. 33 (d) The respondent’s attorney. 34 (e) The respondent’s guardian or guardian advocate, if 35 applicable. 36 (f) In the case of a minor respondent, the respondent’s 37 parent, guardian, legal custodian, or guardian advocate. 38 (g) The respondent’s treating health care practitioner. 39 (h) The respondent’s health care surrogate or proxy. 40 (i) The Department of Corrections, without charge and upon 41 request if the respondent is committed or is to be returned to 42 the custody of the Department of Corrections from the Department 43 of Children and Families. 44 (j) A person or entity authorized to view records upon a 45 court order for good cause. In determining if there is good 46 cause for the disclosure of records, the court must weigh the 47 person or entity’s need for the information against potential 48 harm to the respondent from the disclosure. 49 (2) This section does not preclude the clerk of the court 50 from submitting the information required by s. 790.065 to the 51 Department of Law Enforcement. 52 (3) The clerk of the court may not publish personal 53 identifying information on a court docket or in a publicly 54 accessible file. 55 (4) A person or entity receiving information pursuant to 56 this section shall maintain such information as confidential and 57 exempt from s. 119.07(1). 58 (5) The exemption under this section applies to all 59 documents filed with a court before, on, or after July 1, 2017. 60 (6) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset 61 Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed 62 on October 2, 2022, unless reviewed and saved from repeal 63 through reenactment by the Legislature. 64 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 65 necessity that petitions for involuntary assessment and 66 stabilization and related court orders and records that are 67 filed with or by a court under part V of chapter 397, Florida 68 Statutes, and the personal identifying information of a 69 substance abuse impaired person which is published on a court 70 docket and maintained by the clerk of the court under part V of 71 chapter 397, Florida Statutes, be made confidential and exempt 72 from disclosure under s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 73 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution. A person’s health 74 and sensitive, personal information regarding his or her actual 75 or alleged substance abuse impairment are intensely private 76 matters. The media have obtained, and published information 77 from, such records without the affected person’s consent. The 78 content of such records or personal identifying information 79 should not be made public merely because they are filed with or 80 by a court or placed on a docket. Making such petitions, orders, 81 records, and identifying information confidential and exempt 82 from disclosure will protect such persons from the release of 83 sensitive, personal information which could damage their and 84 their families’ reputations. The publication of personal 85 identifying information on a physical or virtual docket, 86 regardless of whether any other record is published, defeats the 87 purpose of protections otherwise provided. Further, the 88 knowledge that such sensitive, personal information is subject 89 to disclosure could have a chilling effect on a person’s 90 willingness to seek out and comply with substance abuse 91 treatment services. 92 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.