Florida Senate - 2014                             CS for SB 1002
       By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senator Hays
       597-02196-14                                          20141002c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records; creating s.
    3         559.5558, F.S.; providing a public records exemption
    4         for information held by the Office of Financial
    5         Regulation pursuant to an investigation or examination
    6         of consumer collection agencies; providing for future
    7         repeal and legislative review of the exemption under
    8         the Open Government Sunset Review Act; providing a
    9         statement of public necessity; providing a contingent
   10         effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. Section 559.5558, Florida Statutes, is created
   15  to read:
   16         559.5558 Public records exemption.—
   17         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term
   18  “personal financial and health information” means:
   19         (a) Information relating to the existence, nature, source,
   20  or amount of a consumer’s personal income, expenses, and debt;
   21         (b) Information relating to a consumer’s financial
   22  transactions of any kind;
   23         (c) Information relating to the existence, identification,
   24  nature, or value of a consumer’s assets, liabilities, or net
   25  worth;
   26         (d) A consumer’s personal health condition, disease, or
   27  injury; or
   28         (e) A history of a consumer’s personal medical diagnosis or
   29  treatment.
   31         (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section,
   32  information held by the office pursuant to an investigation or
   33  examination of a violation of this part is confidential and
   34  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
   35  Constitution. However, information made confidential and exempt
   36  pursuant to this section may be disclosed by the office to a law
   37  enforcement agency or another administrative agency in the
   38  performance of its official duties and responsibilities.
   39         (b) Such information is no longer confidential and exempt
   40  once the investigation or examination is completed or ceases to
   41  be active unless disclosure of the information would:
   42         1. Jeopardize the integrity of another active investigation
   43  or examination;
   44         2. Reveal the personal identifying information of a
   45  consumer, unless the consumer is also the complainant. In the
   46  case of a complainant, the complainant’s personal identifying
   47  information is subject to disclosure after the investigation or
   48  examination is completed or ceases to be active; however, the
   49  complainant’s personal financial and health information remains
   50  confidential and exempt;
   51         3. Reveal the identity of a confidential source;
   52         4. Reveal investigative or examination techniques or
   53  procedures; or
   54         5. Reveal trade secrets, as defined in s. 688.002.
   55         (c) For purposes of this section, an investigation or
   56  examination shall be considered active if the investigation or
   57  examination is proceeding with reasonable dispatch and the
   58  office has a reasonable good faith belief that the investigation
   59  or examination may lead to the filing of an administrative,
   60  civil, or criminal proceeding or the denial or conditional grant
   61  of an application for registration or other approval required
   62  under this part.
   63         (3) REVIEW AND REPEAL.—This section is subject to the Open
   64  Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and
   65  shall stand repealed on October 2, 2019, unless reviewed and
   66  saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
   67         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
   68  necessity that information held by the Office of Financial
   69  Regulation pursuant to an investigation or examination conducted
   70  under part VI of chapter 559, Florida Statutes, be confidential
   71  and exempt from public records requirements for the following
   72  reasons:
   73         (1) An investigation or examination conducted by the Office
   74  of Financial Regulation may lead to the filing of an
   75  administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding or to the denial
   76  or conditional granting of a registration. The premature release
   77  of such information could frustrate or thwart the investigation
   78  or examination and impair the ability of the office to
   79  effectively and efficiently administer part VI of chapter 559,
   80  Florida Statutes.
   81         (2) Information held by the Office of Financial Regulation
   82  which is provided to a law enforcement agency or another
   83  administrative agency for further investigation or examination
   84  needs to remain confidential and exempt until the investigation
   85  or examination is completed or ceases to be active. Release of
   86  this information before the completion of that investigation or
   87  examination would jeopardize the integrity of the investigation
   88  and impair the ability of other agencies to carry out their
   89  statutory duties.
   90         (3) Investigations and examinations of consumer collection
   91  agencies frequently involve the gathering of sensitive personal
   92  information, including financial and health information
   93  concerning complainants and consumers. The office may not
   94  otherwise have access to this sensitive personal information but
   95  for the investigation or examination. Because of the sensitive
   96  personal nature of the information gathered, if the individuals
   97  who are the subjects of such information are identifiable, the
   98  disclosure of this information to the public could cause
   99  unwarranted damage to the good names or reputations of the
  100  individuals, especially if information associated with the
  101  individuals is inaccurate. Furthermore, if the individuals who
  102  are the subjects of such information are identifiable, public
  103  access to such information could jeopardize the financial safety
  104  of such individuals by placing them at risk of becoming the
  105  subjects of identity theft. The Legislature further finds that
  106  it is a public necessity that health information held by the
  107  office be made confidential and exempt because matters of
  108  personal health are traditionally private and confidential
  109  concerns between the patient and the health care provider. The
  110  private and confidential nature of personal health matters
  111  pervades both the public and private health care sectors.
  112  Moreover, public disclosure of health information could have a
  113  negative effect upon a person’s business and personal
  114  relationships and could also have detrimental financial
  115  consequences.
  116         (4) Releasing information identifying a confidential source
  117  could jeopardize both the integrity of a current and future
  118  investigation or examination as well as the safety of the
  119  confidential source.
  120         (5) Revealing investigative or examination techniques and
  121  procedures could allow a person to hide or conceal violations of
  122  law that otherwise would have been discovered during an
  123  investigation or examination. This exemption is necessary for
  124  the office, as well as law enforcement and other administrative
  125  agencies, in order for such agencies to effectively and
  126  efficiently carry out their statutory duties, which would be
  127  significantly impaired without this exemption.
  128         (6) A trade secret derives independent economic value,
  129  actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not
  130  readily ascertainable by, other persons who can obtain economic
  131  value from its disclosure or use. Without an exemption for a
  132  trade secret held by the office, that trade secret becomes a
  133  public record when received and must be divulged upon request.
  134  Divulging a trade secret under the public records law would
  135  destroy the value of that property, causing a financial loss to
  136  the person or entity submitting the trade secret. Release of
  137  that information would give business competitors an unfair
  138  advantage and weaken the position of the person or entity
  139  supplying the trade secret in the marketplace.
  140         Section 3. This act shall take effect on the same date that
  141  SB 1006 or substantially similar legislation takes effect, if
  142  such legislation is adopted in the same legislative session or
  143  an extension thereof and becomes a law.