September 23, 2020
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_h0649__
HB 649

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to public records; creating s. 925.131,
3F.S.; providing definitions; providing an exemption from
4public records law for investigative or crime scene
5photographs, images, or video recordings of a deceased
6person, a part of a deceased person, or any part of a
7person's extreme, severe, or acute injuries held by a law
8enforcement agency; providing exceptions for certain
9relatives, injured persons, or their designees; permitting
10a local or county governmental entity, or a state or
11federal agency, in furtherance of its official duties, to
12access such records pursuant to a written request to the
13law enforcement agency in possession of such records,
14although the confidential and exempt status of such
15records shall be maintained; permitting any person to
16view, but not copy, photograph, or remove, any record not
17otherwise confidential or exempt from public records
18provisions under the direct supervision of the custodian
19of the record or his or her designee; requiring that the
20viewing, copying, or other handling of such a record be
21under the direct supervision of the custodian of the
22record or his or her designee; permitting a court or law
23enforcement agency head, upon a showing of good cause, to
24authorize any person to view or copy such a record and
25impose any restrictions or stipulations that it deems
26appropriate; providing criminal penalties for violations
27of statute or court order; providing for future
28legislative review and repeal; providing a finding of
29public necessity; providing for retroactive effect;
30providing a contingent effective date.
31
32Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
33
34     Section 1.  Section 925.131, Florida Statutes, is created
35to read:
36     925.131  Public records exemption for certain law
37enforcement photographs, images, or video recordings.-
38     (1)  For purposes of this section, the term:
39     (a)  "Law enforcement agency" means any state agency or
40unit of government in this state that has authority to employ or
41appoint law enforcement officers, as defined in s. 943.10, as
42well as any employee, deputy, or agent of such an agency or any
43other person who may obtain possession of a restricted
44photograph, image, or recording in the course of assisting such
45an agency in the performance of its duties.
46     (b)  "Restricted photograph, image, or recording" means an
47investigative or crime scene photograph, image, or video
48recording of a deceased person, a part of a deceased person, or
49any part of a person's extreme, severe, or acute injuries.
50     (2)(a)  A restricted photograph, image, or recording held
51by a law enforcement agency is confidential and exempt from s.
52119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except
53that:
54     1.  A restricted photograph, image, or recording of a
55deceased person may be viewed and copied by the surviving spouse
56of that person, by a surviving parent of that person, or by an
57adult child of the person.
58     2.  A person whose extreme, severe, or acute injury is
59depicted in whole or in part in a restricted photograph, image,
60or recording may view and copy such restricted photograph,
61image, or recording.
62     (b)  Any person authorized to obtain records under this
63subsection may designate in writing an agent to obtain such
64records on his or her behalf.
65     (c)  Persons authorized under this subsection to obtain
66such records shall be provided access thereto unless such
67records are otherwise confidential or exempt from s. 119.07(1)
68and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
69     (3)  A local or county governmental entity, or a state or
70federal agency, in furtherance of its official duties and
71pursuant to a written request to the law enforcement agency in
72possession of such records, may view or copy a restricted
73photograph, image, or recording; however, the receiving entity
74or agency shall maintain the confidential and exempt status of
75the restricted photograph, image, or recording and shall protect
76the identity of the deceased or injured person.
77     (4)  Any person may view, but not copy, photograph, or
78remove, any restricted photograph, image, or recording not
79otherwise confidential or exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a),
80Art. I of the State Constitution, under the direct supervision
81of the custodian of the record or his or her designee.
82     (5)  Any viewing, copying, or other handling of a
83restricted photograph, image, or recording must be under the
84direct supervision of the custodian of the record or his or her
85designee.
86     (6)(a)  The following are exceptions to the restrictions in
87subsection (4) on copying photographs, images, or video
88recordings of a deceased person, a part of a deceased person, or
89any part of a person's extreme, severe, or acute injuries being
90held confidential:
91     1.  When the head of the law enforcement agency in this
92state in possession of the photographs, images, or video
93recordings has personally examined the photographs, images, or
94video recordings and has determined in his or her discretion
95that there is good cause for their release, they shall be
96disseminated in accordance with his or her written instructions.
97These instructions must name the party or parties that are
98authorized to obtain the photographs, images, or video
99recordings or a copy of them.
100     2.  When a judge in a county or circuit in this state has
101personally examined the photographs, images, or video recordings
102and has determined in his or her judicial opinion that there is
103good cause for their release, they shall be disseminated in
104accordance with his or her written court order. The order must
105name the party or parties that are authorized to obtain the
106photographs, images, or video recordings or a copy of them.
107     (b)  In determining good cause for purposes of paragraph
108(a), the agency head or court shall consider whether such
109disclosure is necessary for the public evaluation of
110governmental performance, the seriousness of the intrusion into
111the family's or injured person's right to privacy, whether such
112disclosure is the least intrusive means available to enable
113public evaluation of governmental performance, and the
114availability of similar information in other public records,
115regardless of form.
116     (7)(a)  It is unlawful for:
117     1.  Any custodian or a designee of a custodian of a
118restricted photograph, image, or recording to willfully and
119knowingly violate a provision of this section; or
120     2.  Any person to willfully and knowingly violate a court
121order or agency head's instructions issued pursuant to this
122section.
123     (b)  Any person who violates paragraph (a) commits:
124     1.  For the first violation, a misdemeanor of the first
125degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
126     2.  For a second or subsequent violation, a felony of the
127third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
128or s. 775.084.
129     (8)  This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset
130Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed
131on October 2, 2015, unless reviewed and saved from repeal
132through reenactment by the Legislature.
133     Section 2.  The Legislature finds that it is a public
134necessity that investigative or crime scene photographs, images,
135or video recordings of a deceased person, a part of a deceased
136person, or any part of a person's extreme, severe, or acute
137injuries be confidential and exempt from disclosure, with
138certain clearly defined exceptions. The Legislature finds that
139such photographs, images, or video recordings may depict or
140describe a deceased or suffering person in graphic and
141disturbing fashion. Such photographs, images, or video
142recordings, if copied, distributed, or publicized, could result
143in trauma, sorrow, humiliation, or emotional injury to the
144individual depicted or his or her immediate family. If the
145individual is deceased, such dissemination could also cause
146injury to the memory of the deceased. The Legislature notes that
147the existence of the Internet and the proliferation of personal
148computers throughout the world encourages and promotes the wide
149dissemination of photographs, images, and video recordings 24
150hours a day and that widespread unauthorized dissemination of
151photographs, images, and video recordings would subject a
152suffering individual and the immediate family of a deceased or
153suffering individual to continuous injury. The Legislature
154further notes that there continue to be other types of available
155information, such as police reports, that are less intrusive and
156injurious and that continue to provide for public oversight. The
157Legislature further finds that the exemption provided in this
158act should be given retroactive application because it is
159remedial in nature.
160     Section 3.  This act shall apply to all photographs,
161images, or video recordings subject to its terms regardless of
162whether they were created before, on, or after the effective
163date of this act.
164     Section 4.  This act shall take effect on the same date
165that HB 647 or similar legislation takes effect, if such
166legislation is enacted in the same legislative session or an
167extension thereof and becomes law.


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