CS for CS for SB 224                             First Engrossed
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records; amending s.
    3         119.0701, F.S.; requiring that a public agency
    4         contract for services include a statement providing
    5         the contact information of the public agency’s
    6         custodian of records; prescribing the form of the
    7         statement; revising required provisions in a public
    8         agency contract for services regarding a contractor’s
    9         compliance with public records laws; requiring that a
   10         public records request relating to records for a
   11         public agency’s contract for services be made directly
   12         to the public agency; requiring a contractor to
   13         provide requested records to the public agency or
   14         allow inspection or copying of requested records under
   15         specified circumstances; specifying applicable
   16         penalties for a contractor who fails to provide
   17         requested records; specifying circumstances under
   18         which a court must assess reasonable costs of
   19         enforcement against a contractor; specifying
   20         applicable law for reasonable costs of enforcement
   21         assessed against a public agency; providing for
   22         applicability; creating s. 119.0702, F.S.; requiring
   23         each agency to provide training and information on the
   24         requirements of ch. 119, F.S., to agency employees;
   25         requiring each agency to publicly post contact
   26         information for the custodian of public records;
   27         specifying that a violation may not be used as a basis
   28         for an independent cause of action or recovering
   29         attorney fees; specifying that an agency is in
   30         compliance if certain conditions are met; amending s.
   31         119.12, F.S.; requiring a court to determine if a
   32         complainant provided certain written notice to an
   33         agency’s custodian of public records in order to
   34         assess and award attorney fees in a civil action to
   35         enforce ch. 119, F.S.; providing an exception;
   36         providing an effective date.
   38  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   40         Section 1. Section 119.0701, Florida Statutes, is amended
   41  to read:
   42         119.0701 Contracts; public records.—
   43         (1) DEFINITIONS.—For purposes of this section, the term:
   44         (a) “Contractor” means an individual, partnership,
   45  corporation, or business entity that enters into a contract for
   46  services with a public agency and is acting on behalf of the
   47  public agency as provided under s. 119.011(2).
   48         (b) “Public agency” means a state, county, district,
   49  authority, or municipal officer, or department, division, board,
   50  bureau, commission, or other separate unit of government created
   51  or established by law.
   52         (2) CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS.—In addition to other contract
   53  requirements provided by law, each public agency contract for
   54  services must include:
   55         (a) The following statement, in substantially the following
   56  form, identifying the contact information of the public agency’s
   57  custodian of public records in at least 14-point boldfaced type:
   62  ...(custodian of public records)... AT ...(telephone number, e
   63  mail address, and mailing address)....
   65         (b) A provision that requires the contractor to comply with
   66  public records laws, specifically to:
   67         1.(a) Keep and maintain public records that ordinarily and
   68  necessarily would be required by the public agency in order to
   69  perform the service.
   70         2.(b)Upon request from the public agency’s custodian of
   71  public records, provide the public agency with a copy of the
   72  requested records or allow the access to public records to be
   73  inspected or copied within a reasonable time on the same terms
   74  and conditions that the public agency would provide the records
   75  and at a cost that does not exceed the cost provided in this
   76  chapter or as otherwise provided by law.
   77         3.(c) Ensure that public records that are exempt or
   78  confidential and exempt from public records disclosure
   79  requirements are not disclosed except as authorized by law for
   80  the duration of the contract term and following completion of
   81  the contract if the contractor does not transfer the records to
   82  the public agency.
   83         4.(d)Upon completion of the contract, Meet all
   84  requirements for retaining public records and transfer, at no
   85  cost, to the public agency all public records in possession of
   86  the contractor or keep and maintain public records required by
   87  the public agency to perform the service. If the contractor
   88  transfers all public records to the public agency upon
   89  completion of the contract, the contractor shall upon
   90  termination of the contract and destroy any duplicate public
   91  records that are exempt or confidential and exempt from public
   92  records disclosure requirements. If the contractor keeps and
   93  maintains public records upon completion of the contract, the
   94  contractor shall meet all applicable requirements for retaining
   95  public records and provide requested records to a public agency
   96  pursuant to the requirements of this section. All records stored
   97  electronically must be provided to the public agency, upon
   98  request from the public agency’s custodian of public records, in
   99  a format that is compatible with the information technology
  100  systems of the public agency.
  102         (a)A request to inspect or copy public records relating to
  103  a public agency’s contract for services must be made directly to
  104  the public agency. If the public agency does not possess the
  105  requested records, the public agency shall immediately notify
  106  the contractor of the request, and the contractor must provide
  107  the records to the public agency or allow the records to be
  108  inspected or copied within a reasonable time.
  109         (b) If a contractor does not comply with the public
  110  agency’s a public records request for records, the public agency
  111  shall enforce the contract provisions in accordance with the
  112  contract.
  113         (c) A contractor who fails to provide the public records to
  114  the public agency within a reasonable time may be subject to
  115  penalties under s. 119.10.
  116         (4) CIVIL ACTION.—
  117         (a) If a civil action is filed to compel production of
  118  public records relating to the public agency’s contract for
  119  services, the court shall assess and award against the
  120  contractor the reasonable costs of enforcement, including
  121  reasonable attorney fees, if the party filing the action
  122  provides written notice of the public records request, including
  123  a statement that the contractor has not complied with the
  124  request. The notice must be sent by common carrier delivery
  125  service or by registered, Global Express Guaranteed, or
  126  certified mail, with postage or shipping paid by the sender and
  127  with evidence of delivery, which may be in an electronic format.
  128  The notice must be sent by the plaintiff at least 8 business
  129  days before the plaintiff files the civil action.
  130         (b) An award of the reasonable costs of enforcement against
  131  a public agency must be in accordance with s. 119.12.
  132         Section 2. A public agency has until October 1, 2015, to
  133  amend a public agency contract for services, if needed, in order
  134  to comply with the amendment made by this act to section
  135  119.0701, Florida Statutes.
  136         Section 3. Section 119.0702, Florida Statutes, is created
  137  to read:
  138         119.0702 Agency requirements for staff training and public
  139  postings.—
  140         (1) Each agency shall determine and provide the appropriate
  141  amount of information or training on the requirements of this
  142  chapter for each agency employee, taking into consideration
  143  whether the employee’s duties are performed in any office where
  144  public records are routinely created, sent, received,
  145  maintained, and requested.
  146         (2) Each agency shall post the contact information for the
  147  agency’s custodian of public records in any office to which the
  148  public has access in which public records are routinely created,
  149  sent, received, maintained, and requested, and shall post the
  150  contact information for the custodian of public records on the
  151  agency’s website if the agency has a website.
  152         (3) A violation of this section does not form the basis of
  153  an independent cause of action and may not be used to recover
  154  attorney fees under s. 119.12.
  155         (4) If an agency provides information or training to agency
  156  staff and publicly posts contact information in accordance with
  157  the requirements of subsections (1) and (2), the agency is
  158  deemed to be in compliance with this section.
  159         Section 4. Section 119.12, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  160  read:
  161         119.12 Attorney Attorney’s fees.—
  162         (1)When If a civil action is filed against an agency to
  163  enforce the provisions of this chapter, and if the court
  164  determines that the agency was provided written notice of the
  165  public records request to the agency’s custodian of public
  166  records, using contact information provided by the agency, at
  167  least 2 business days before filing the action and that the
  168  court determines that such agency unlawfully refused to permit a
  169  public record to be inspected or copied, the court shall assess
  170  and award, against the responsible agency responsible, the
  171  reasonable costs of enforcement. The complainant is not required
  172  to provide written notice to the agency’s custodian of public
  173  records if the agency failed to post contact information for its
  174  custodian of public records in accordance with s. 119.0702.
  175         (2)The reasonable costs of enforcement include, but are
  176  not limited to, including reasonable attorney attorneys’ fees.
  177         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.