Florida Senate - 2022 CS for SB 1550
By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
Senators Perry and Book
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to public records; providing a short
3 title; amending s. 406.135, F.S.; revising the
4 definition of the term “medical examiner”; defining
5 the term “minor”; creating an exemption from public
6 records requirements for autopsy reports of minors
7 whose deaths were related to acts of domestic
8 violence; providing an exception; providing additional
9 exceptions to the exemption; providing that any
10 viewing, copying, or handling of such autopsy reports
11 be under the direct supervision of the custodian of
12 records or his or her designee; requiring that certain
13 surviving parents of a minor child whose death was
14 related to domestic violence be given notice of
15 petitions to view or copy the minor child’s autopsy
16 report and of the opportunity to be present and heard
17 at the related hearings under certain circumstances;
18 providing penalties; providing for retroactive
19 application; providing for future legislative review
20 and repeal of the exemption; providing a statement of
21 public necessity; providing an effective date.
23 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
25 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Rex and Brody
26 Reinhart Act.”
27 Section 2. Section 406.135, Florida Statutes, is amended to
29 406.135 Autopsies; confidentiality of photographs and video
30 and audio recordings; confidentiality of reports of child
31 victims of domestic violence; exemption.—
32 (1) As used in
For the purpose of this section, the term:
33 (a) “Medical examiner” means any district medical examiner,
34 associate medical examiner, or substitute medical examiner
35 acting pursuant to this chapter, as well as any employee,
36 deputy, or agent of a medical examiner or any other person who
37 may obtain possession of a report, photograph, or audio or video
38 recording of an autopsy in the course of assisting a medical
39 examiner in the performance of his or her official duties.
40 (b) “Minor” means a person younger than 18 years of age who
41 has not had the disability of nonage removed pursuant to s.
42 743.01 or s. 743.015.
43 (2) A photograph or video or audio recording of an autopsy
44 held by a medical examiner is confidential and exempt from s.
45 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except
46 that a surviving spouse may view and copy a photograph or video
47 recording or listen to or copy an audio recording of the
48 deceased spouse’s autopsy. If there is no surviving spouse, then
49 the surviving parents shall have access to such records. If
50 there is no surviving spouse or parent, then an adult child
51 shall have access to such records.
52 (3) An autopsy report of a minor whose death was related to
53 an act of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28 held by a
54 medical examiner is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1)
55 and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that a
56 surviving parent of the deceased minor may view and copy the
57 report if he or she is not the parent who committed the act of
58 domestic violence which led to the minor’s death.
59 (4)(a) The deceased’s surviving relative, with whom
60 authority rests to obtain such records, may designate in writing
61 an agent to obtain such records.
62 (b) A local governmental entity, or a state or federal
63 agency, in furtherance of its official duties, pursuant to a
64 written request, may view or copy a photograph or video
65 recording of an autopsy or an autopsy report of a minor or may
66 listen to or copy an audio recording of an autopsy, and unless
67 otherwise required in the performance of official their duties,
68 the identity of the deceased shall remain confidential and
70 (c) The custodian of the record, or his or her designee,
71 may not permit any other person, except an agent designated in
72 writing by the deceased’s surviving relative with whom authority
73 rests to obtain such records, to view or copy such photograph,
74 or video recording, or autopsy report of a minor or listen to or
75 copy an audio recording without a court order.
76 (5)(a) (4 ) (a) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may
77 issue an order authorizing any person to view or copy a
78 photograph or video recording of an autopsy or an autopsy report
79 of a minor or to listen to or copy an audio recording of an
80 autopsy and may prescribe any restrictions or stipulations that
81 the court deems appropriate.
82 (b) In determining good cause, the court shall consider
83 whether such disclosure is necessary for the public evaluation
84 of governmental performance; the seriousness of the intrusion
85 into the family’s right to privacy and whether such disclosure
86 is the least intrusive means available; and the availability of
87 similar information in other public records, regardless of form.
88 (c) In all cases, the viewing, copying, listening to, or
89 other handling of a photograph or video or audio recording of an
90 autopsy or an autopsy report of a minor must be under the direct
91 supervision of the custodian of the record or his or her
93 (6) (5) A surviving spouse must shall be given reasonable
94 notice of a petition filed with the court to view or copy a
95 photograph or video recording of an autopsy or a petition to
96 listen to or copy an audio recording, a copy of such petition,
97 and reasonable notice of the opportunity to be present and heard
98 at any hearing on the matter. If there is no surviving spouse,
99 then such notice must be given to the parents of the deceased,
100 and if the deceased has no living parent, then to the adult
101 children of the deceased.
102 (7) For a report of an autopsy of a minor whose death was
103 related to an act of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28,
104 any surviving parent who did not commit the act of domestic
105 violence which led to the minor’s death must be given reasonable
106 notice of a petition filed with the court to view or copy the
107 report, a copy of such petition, and reasonable notice of the
108 opportunity to be present and heard at any hearing on the
110 (8)(a) (6 ) (a) Any custodian of a photograph or video or
111 audio recording of an autopsy or an autopsy report of a minor
112 who willfully and knowingly violates this section commits a
113 felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
114 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
115 (b) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates a court
116 order issued pursuant to this section commits a felony of the
117 third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
118 or s. 775.084.
119 (9) (7) A criminal or administrative proceeding is exempt
120 from this section , but unless otherwise exempted, is subject to
121 all other provisions of chapter 119 unless otherwise exempted. ,
122 provided however that This section does not prohibit a court in
123 a criminal or administrative proceeding upon good cause shown
124 from restricting or otherwise controlling the disclosure of an
125 autopsy, crime scene, or similar report, photograph, or video or
126 audio recordings in the manner prescribed herein.
127 (10) (8) The exemptions in this section This exemption shall
128 be given retroactive application.
129 (11) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset
130 Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed
131 on October 2, 2027, unless reviewed and saved from repeal
132 through reenactment by the Legislature.
133 Section 3. The Legislature finds that it is a public
134 necessity that autopsy reports for minor children whose deaths
135 were related to acts of domestic violence be made confidential
136 and exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a),
137 Article I of the State Constitution. The Legislature finds that
138 autopsy reports describe the deceased in graphic and often
139 disturbing fashion and that autopsy reports for minor children
140 who were victims of domestic violence may describe the deceased
141 nude, bruised, bloodied, broken, with bullet or other wounds,
142 cut open, dismembered, or decapitated. As such, these reports
143 often contain highly sensitive descriptions of the deceased
144 which, if heard, viewed, copied, or publicized, could result in
145 trauma, sorrow, humiliation, or emotional injury to the
146 immediate family of the deceased and the deceased’s minor
147 friends, as well as injury to the memory of the deceased. The
148 Legislature recognizes that the existence of the Internet and
149 the proliferation of websites throughout the world encourages
150 and promotes the wide dissemination of reports and publications
151 24 hours a day and that widespread unauthorized dissemination of
152 autopsy reports for minor children whose deaths were related to
153 acts of domestic violence would subject the immediate family and
154 the minor friends of the deceased to continuous injury. The
155 Legislature further finds that the exemption provided in this
156 act should be given retroactive application because it is
157 remedial in nature.
158 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.