SB 538                                     First Engrossed (ntc)
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records; creating s.
    3         197.3225, F.S.; providing an exemption from public
    4         records requirements for e-mail addresses obtained by
    5         the tax collector for the purpose of electronically
    6         sending tax notices or obtaining the consent of the
    7         taxpayer to the electronic transmission of tax
    8         notices; providing for future review and repeal of the
    9         exemption; providing a statement of public necessity;
   10         providing an effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. Section 197.3225, Florida Statutes, is created
   15  to read:
   16         197.3225 Confidentiality of e-mail addresses.—
   17         (1) A taxpayer’s e-mail address held by a tax collector for
   18  the following purposes is confidential and exempt from s.
   19  119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
   20         (a) Sending a quarterly tax notice for prepayment of
   21  estimated taxes under s. 197.222(3) to the taxpayer.
   22         (b) Obtaining the taxpayer’s consent to send the tax notice
   23  described in s. 197.322(3).
   24         (c) Sending an additional tax notice or delinquent tax
   25  notice to the taxpayer under s. 197.343.
   26         (d) Sending a tax notice to a designated third party,
   27  mortgagee, or vendee as provided under s. 197.344(1).
   28         (2) An e-mail address provided by a taxpayer to the tax
   29  collector via the tax collector’s website or other
   30  correspondence for a purpose other than those listed in
   31  subsection (1) is not confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1)
   32  and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
   33         (3) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset
   34  Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed
   35  on October 2, 2019, unless reviewed and saved from repeal
   36  through reenactment by the Legislature.
   37         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
   38  necessity that the e-mail address of a taxpayer which is held by
   39  the tax collector for the purpose of sending a tax notice or
   40  obtaining the consent of the taxpayer to the electronic
   41  transmission of a tax notice be made confidential and exempt
   42  from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of
   43  the State Constitution. E-mail rather than traditional postal
   44  mail is increasingly used as a means for communicating and
   45  conducting business, including official state business such as
   46  the payment of taxes. In order to carry out business
   47  electronically with the tax collector, the taxpayer must report
   48  his or her personal e-mail address. Under current law, e-mail
   49  addresses are public records available to anyone for any
   50  purpose. However, such addresses are unique to the individual
   51  and, when combined with other personal identifying information,
   52  can be used for identity theft, taxpayer scams, and other
   53  invasive contacts. The public availability of personal e-mail
   54  addresses invites and exacerbates thriving and well-documented
   55  criminal activities putting property owners at increased risk of
   56  harm. Such harm could be significantly curtailed by allowing the
   57  tax collector to remove the availability of taxpayer e-mail
   58  addresses.
   59         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.