January 24, 2021
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       Florida Senate - 2010                      CS for CS for SB 2070
       By the Committees on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Banking and Insurance; and Senator Richter
       585-04923-10                                          20102070c2
    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 of consumer
    6         collection agencies; providing for future repeal and
    7         legislative review of the exemption under the Open
    8         Government Sunset Review Act; providing a statement of
    9         public necessity; providing a contingent effective
   10         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         559.5558Public-records exemption.—
   17         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term
   18  “personal financial 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; or
   23         (c) Information relating to the existence, identification,
   24  nature, or value of a consumer’s assets, liabilities, or net
   25  worth.
   26         (2) INVESTIGATIONS.—
   27         (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section,
   28  information held by the office pursuant to an investigation of a
   29  violation of this part is confidential and exempt from s.
   30  119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
   31  However, information made confidential and exempt pursuant to
   32  this section may be disclosed by the office to a law enforcement
   33  agency or another administrative agency in the performance of
   34  its official duties and responsibilities.
   35         (b) Such information is no longer confidential and exempt
   36  once the investigation is completed or ceases to be active
   37  unless disclosure of the information would:
   38         1. Jeopardize the integrity of another active
   39  investigation;
   40         2. Reveal the personal identifying information of a
   41  consumer, unless the consumer is also the complainant. In the
   42  case of a complainant, the complainant’s personal identifying
   43  information is subject to disclosure after the investigation is
   44  completed or ceases to be active; however, the complainant’s
   45  personal financial information remains confidential and exempt;
   46         3. Reveal the identity of a confidential source;
   47         4. Reveal investigative techniques or procedures; or
   48         5. Reveal trade secrets, as defined in s. 688.002.
   49         (c) For purposes of this section, an investigation shall be
   50  considered active if the investigation is proceeding with
   51  reasonable dispatch and the office has a reasonable good faith
   52  belief that the investigation may lead to the filing of an
   53  administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding or the denial or
   54  conditional grant of an application for registration or other
   55  approval required under this part.
   56         (3) REVIEW AND REPEAL.—This section is subject to the Open
   57  Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and
   58  shall stand repealed on October 2, 2015, unless reviewed and
   59  saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
   60         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
   61  necessity that information held by the Office of Financial
   62  Regulation pursuant to an investigation conducted under part VI
   63  of chapter 559, Florida Statutes, be confidential and exempt
   64  from public-records requirements for the following reasons:
   65         (1) An investigation conducted by the Office of Financial
   66  Regulation may lead to the filing of an administrative, civil,
   67  or criminal proceeding or to the denial or conditional granting
   68  of a registration. The premature release of such information
   69  could frustrate or thwart the investigation and impair the
   70  ability of the office to effectively and efficiently administer
   71  part VI of chapter 559, Florida Statutes.
   72         (2) Information held by the Office of Financial Regulation
   73  which is provided to a law enforcement agency or another
   74  administration agency for further investigation needs to remain
   75  confidential and exempt until the investigation is completed or
   76  ceases to be active. Release of this information before the
   77  completion of that investigation would jeopardize the integrity
   78  of the investigation and impair the ability of other agencies to
   79  carry out their statutory duties.
   80         (3) Investigations frequently involve the gathering of
   81  sensitive personal information, including financial information,
   82  concerning complainants and consumers. The office may not
   83  otherwise have access to this sensitive personal information but
   84  for the investigation. Because of the sensitive personal nature
   85  of the information gathered, if the individuals who are the
   86  subject of such information are identifiable, the disclosure of
   87  this information to the public could cause unwarranted damage to
   88  the good name or reputation of the individuals, especially if
   89  information associated with the individual is inaccurate.
   90  Furthermore, if the individuals who are the subject of such
   91  information are identifiable, public access to such information
   92  could jeopardize the financial safety of such individuals by
   93  placing them at risk of becoming the objects of identity theft.
   94         (4) Releasing information identifying a confidential source
   95  could jeopardize both the integrity of a current and future
   96  investigation as well as the safety of the confidential source.
   97         (5) Revealing investigative techniques and procedures could
   98  allow a person to hide or conceal violations of law that
   99  otherwise would have been discovered during an investigation.
  100  This exemption is necessary for the office, as well as law
  101  enforcement and other administrative agencies, in order for such
  102  agencies to effectively and efficiently carry out their
  103  statutory duties, which would be significantly impaired without
  104  this exemption.
  105         (6) A trade secret derives independent economic value,
  106  actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not
  107  readily ascertainable by, other persons who can obtain economic
  108  value from its disclosure or use. Without an exemption for a
  109  trade secret held by the office, that trade secret becomes a
  110  public record when received and must be divulged upon request.
  111  Divulging a trade secret under the public-records law would
  112  destroy the value of that property, causing a financial loss to
  113  the person or entity submitting the trade secret. Release of
  114  that information would give business competitors an unfair
  115  advantage and weaken the position of the person or entity
  116  supplying the trade secret in the marketplace.
  117         Section 3. This act shall take effect on the same date that
  118  CS for SB 1702 or similar legislation takes effect if such
  119  legislation is adopted in the same legislative session, or an
  120  extension thereof, and becomes law.

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