Florida Senate - 2015 SB 7032
By the Committee on Health Policy
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to public records; amending s.
3 383.412. F.S.; removing the public records exemption
4 for information held by the State Child Abuse Death
5 Review Committee or a local committee that reveals the
6 identity of family members or others living in the
7 home of a child whose death occurred as a result of a
8 verified report of abuse or neglect; exempting
9 information held by the State Child Abuse Death Review
10 Committee or a local committee that identifies a
11 deceased child whose death is reported to the central
12 abuse hotline but whose death is not the result of
13 abuse or neglect and the identity of the surviving
14 siblings, family members, or others living in the home
15 of such a deceased child; authorizing release of such
16 information to specified persons under certain
17 circumstances; providing for future legislative review
18 and repeal of the exemption under the Open Government
19 Sunset Review Act; providing a statement of public
20 necessity; providing an effective date.
22 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
24 Section 1. Section 383.412, Florida Statutes, is amended to
26 383.412 Public records and public meetings exemptions.—
27 (1) For purposes of this section, the term “local
28 committee” means a local child abuse death review committee or a
29 panel or committee assembled by the State Child Abuse Death
30 Review Committee or a local child abuse death review committee
31 pursuant to s. 383.402.
32 (2)(a) Any information held by the State Child Abuse Death
33 Review Committee or a local committee which reveals the identity
34 of the surviving siblings of a deceased child whose death
35 occurred as the result of a verified report of abuse or neglect
36 is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art.
37 I of the State Constitution.
38 (b) Any information held by the State Child Abuse Death
39 Review Committee or a local committee which
that reveals the
40 identity of a deceased child whose death has been reported to
41 the central abuse hotline but determined not to be the result of
42 abuse or neglect, or the identity of the surviving siblings,
43 family members, or others living in the home of such a deceased
44 child, who is the subject of review by and which information is
45 held by the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee or a local
46 committee is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s.
47 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
48 (c) (b) Information made confidential or exempt from s.
49 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution which
50 that is obtained by the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee
51 or a local committee shall retain its confidential or exempt
53 (3)(a) Portions of meetings of the State Child Abuse Death
54 Review Committee or a local committee at which information made
55 confidential and exempt pursuant to subsection (2) is discussed
56 are exempt from s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State
57 Constitution. The closed portion of a meeting must be recorded,
58 and no portion of the closed meeting may be off the record. The
59 recording shall be maintained by the State Child Abuse Death
60 Review Committee or a local committee.
61 (b) The recording of a closed portion of a meeting is
62 exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
64 (4) The State Child Abuse Death Review Committee and local
65 committees may share any relevant information regarding case
66 reviews involving child death which is made confidential and
67 exempt by this section:
68 (a) With each other;
69 (b) With a governmental agency in furtherance of its
70 duties; or
71 (c) With any person or entity authorized by the Department
72 of Health to use such relevant information for bona fide
73 research or statistical purposes. A person or entity who is
74 authorized to obtain such relevant information for research or
75 statistical purposes must enter into a privacy and security
76 agreement with the Department of Health and comply with all laws
77 and rules governing the use of such records and information for
78 research or statistical purposes. Anything identifying the
79 subjects of such relevant information must be treated as
80 confidential by the person or entity and may not be released in
81 any form any relevant information regarding case reviews
82 involving child death, which information is made confidential
83 and exempt by this section.
84 (5) Any person who knowingly or willfully makes public or
85 discloses to any unauthorized person any information made
86 confidential and exempt under this section commits a misdemeanor
87 of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
89 (6) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset
90 Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15, and shall stand
91 repealed on October 2, 2020 2015, unless reviewed and saved from
92 repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
93 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
94 necessity that any information held by the State Child Abuse
95 Death Review Committee or a local committee as defined in s.
96 383.412, Florida Statutes, which reveals the identity of a
97 deceased child whose death has been reported to the central
98 abuse hotline but determined not to be the result of abuse or
99 neglect, or the identity of the surviving siblings, family
100 members, or others living in the home of such deceased child, be
101 held confidential and exempt from public records requirements.
102 The Legislature further finds that it is a public necessity that
103 these committees have the authority to maintain the confidential
104 or exempt status of records otherwise confidential or exempt
105 which are provided to them regarding such children. In 1999, the
106 Legislature authorized the creation of the committees to review
107 the facts and circumstances surrounding the deaths of children
108 in this state which occur as the result of reported child abuse
109 or neglect and to prepare an annual statistical report on the
110 incidence and causes of death resulting from child abuse. Since
111 2004, cases analyzed by the committees have been limited to
112 reports of verified abuse or neglect. The Legislature made
113 identifying information of the surviving siblings, family
114 members, or others living in the home of the child who died as a
115 result of verified abuse or neglect confidential and exempt from
116 public records requirements to ensure that cases could be vetted
117 thoroughly through open communication without risk of disclosure
118 of the identifying information. In 2014, the Legislature
119 expanded the scope of cases reviewed by the committees to
120 include all deaths reported to the child abuse hotline,
121 regardless of whether the deaths were the result of verified
122 abuse or neglect, and this bill expands the public records
123 exemption accordingly. If the identifying information related to
124 these reports were to be disclosed, it could result in emotional
125 or reputational harm to the family and caregivers and an
126 unnecessary invasion of their privacy and the privacy of the
127 deceased child. In addition, the committees must be able to
128 maintain the otherwise confidential and exempt status of records
129 that are provided to them to ensure continued access to such
130 records and the opportunity for a thorough and open review of
131 cases. Therefore, the Legislature finds that the harm that may
132 result from the release of such information substantially
133 outweighs any minimal public benefit that may be derived from
134 its disclosure.
135 Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.