HB 7099

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to public records; amending s. 11.51,
3F.S.; creating an exemption from public records
4requirements for work papers held by the Office of Program
5Policy Analysis and Government Accountability that relate
6to an authorized project or a research product; providing
7for retroactive application; providing a statement of
8public necessity; providing a contingent effective date.
10Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
12     Section 1.  Subsection (7) is added to section 11.51,
13Florida Statutes, to read:
14     11.51  Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
16     (7)  Work papers held by the Office of Program Policy
17Analysis and Government Accountability that relate to an
18authorized project or a research product are exempt from s.
1924(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. The exemption applies
20to work papers held by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and
21Government Accountability before, on, or after the effective
22date of the exemption.
23     Section 2.  The Legislature finds that it is a public
24necessity that certain work papers held by the Office of Program
25Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) be made
26exempt from section 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution.
27As required by the Legislature, OPPAGA may provide independent
28evaluative research and objective analyses to promote government
29accountability and the efficient and effective use of public
30resources. In order for OPPAGA to accomplish this mission, it is
31necessary that individuals and businesses share information with
32OPPAGA staff without concerns of competitive disadvantage,
33disclosure, or reprisals. Private sector business entities have
34legitimate concerns that information provided to assist the
35Legislature in directing policy initiatives will be protected
36from those in the marketplace who could gain financially from
37the ability to access information collected by OPPAGA. In
38addition, supervisors and others often want to know the
39information given by their employees as part of an OPPAGA
40project for the Legislature. If such information were available
41as a public record, fewer people would be willing to provide
42information needed by the Legislature to evaluate ongoing
43programs. Also, during the project process, much information is
44collected that must be validated before it is relied upon by
45OPPAGA and some information is not validated. Without a public
46record exemption, any person could inspect and copy the record
47containing the unverified information and risk placing on the
48public record unproven allegations that could harm, embarrass,
49humiliate, or cause serious personal or commercial consequences
50to the individual or business as a result of their discussions
51with OPPAGA. Providing a public record exemption for OPPAGA work
52papers will facilitate the ability of OPPAGA to acquire
53important project information for the Legislature and protect
54the public from inappropriate disclosure of proprietary and
55confidential information and from allegations that may not be
56proven with further investigation. An exemption of limited
57duration would not be sufficient to protect the previously
58identified interests. Thus, the Legislature finds that it is a
59public necessity to make exempt from the public records
60requirements of the State Constitution work papers held by
61OPPAGA that relate to an authorized project or to a research
63     Section 3.  This act shall take effect on the same date
64that SB 1204 or similar legislation takes effect, if such
65legislation is adopted in the same legislative session, or an
66extension thereof, and becomes law.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.