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Senate Bill 2290

Senate Bill sb2290c1

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290

    By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senator Clary





    311-2239-04

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to public records exemptions;

  3         repealing s. 717.117(8), F.S.; deleting an

  4         exemption from certain public records

  5         requirements for financial records held by the

  6         Department of Financial Services; creating s.

  7         717.1171, F.S.; exempting from public records

  8         requirements certain financial records held by

  9         the Department of Financial Services; providing

10         exceptions; creating s. 717.12401, F.S.;

11         exempting from public records requirements

12         certain personal photographic information held

13         by the department; providing exceptions;

14         creating s. 717.12402, F.S.; exempting from

15         public records requirements certain databases

16         subscribed to by the department under certain

17         circumstances; amending s. 717.1301, F.S.;

18         creating an exemption from public records

19         requirements for documents produced during an

20         investigation or examination conducted by the

21         Department of Financial Services; providing for

22         future legislative review and repeal; creating

23         s. 717.1342, F.S.; providing criminal penalties

24         for disclosure of confidential records;

25         providing findings of public necessity;

26         providing for future legislative review and

27         repeal; providing a contingent effective date.

28  

29  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

30  

31  

                                  1

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1         Section 1.  Subsection (8) of section 717.117, Florida

 2  Statutes, is repealed.

 3         Section 2.  Section 717.1171, Florida Statutes, is

 4  created to read:

 5         717.1171  Public records exemption for social security

 6  numbers, unclaimed property account dollar amounts, the number

 7  of reported shares of stock, and financial account numbers.--

 8         (1)  Social security numbers, unclaimed property

 9  account dollar amounts, the number of reported shares of

10  stock, and financial account numbers held by the department

11  are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a),

12  Art. I of the State Constitution. Notwithstanding this

13  exemption, the last four digits of social security numbers,

14  unclaimed property account dollar amounts, and the number of

15  reported shares of stock shall be released to an attorney

16  licensed to practice law in this state, a licensed

17  Florida-certified public accountant, or a private investigator

18  licensed under chapter 493, and registered with the department

19  under this chapter. Notwithstanding this exemption, social

20  security numbers, unclaimed property account dollar amounts,

21  the number of reported shares of stock, and financial account

22  numbers held by the department may be provided to another

23  agency in the furtherance of that agency's duties and

24  responsibilities, or to an employee of such an agency. The

25  receiving person or agency, other than the person entitled to

26  the unclaimed property, must maintain the confidential and

27  exempt status of such information. This exemption applies to

28  social security numbers, unclaimed property account dollar

29  amounts, the number of reported shares of stock, and financial

30  account numbers held by the department before, on, or after

31  October 1, 2004.

                                  2

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1         (2)  If information made confidential and exempt under

 2  this section is offered as evidence in any administrative,

 3  civil, or criminal proceeding, or is otherwise subject to such

 4  a proceeding, the presiding officer, in her or his discretion,

 5  may prevent the disclosure of information that is confidential

 6  and exempt pursuant to this section.

 7         (3)  An attorney licensed to practice law in this

 8  state, a licensed Florida-certified public accountant, or a

 9  private investigator licensed under chapter 493, and

10  registered with the department under this chapter, or an

11  employee thereof, may disclose in good faith the last four

12  digits of social security numbers, unclaimed property account

13  dollar amounts, and the number of reported shares of stock to

14  a person who is believed by the attorney, accountant, or

15  investigator, or an employee thereof, to be entitled to the

16  unclaimed property.

17         (4)  The department, or an employee of the department,

18  may disclose in good faith the last four digits of social

19  security numbers, unclaimed property account dollar amounts,

20  and the number of reported shares of stock to a person who is

21  believed by the department, or an employee of the department,

22  to be entitled to the unclaimed property.

23         (5)  This section is subject to the Open Government

24  Sunset Review Act of 1995 in accordance with s. 119.15 and

25  shall stand repealed on October 2, 2009, unless reviewed and

26  saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.

27         Section 3.  Section 717.12401, Florida Statutes, is

28  created to read:

29         717.12401  Public records exemption for personal

30  photographic identification.--

31  

                                  3

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1         (1)  Personal photographic identification held by the

 2  department pursuant to this chapter is confidential and exempt

 3  from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State

 4  Constitution. This exemption applies to personal photographic

 5  identification held by the department before, on, or after

 6  October 1, 2004.

 7         (2)  This section does not prohibit the department from

 8  providing the personal photographic identification to any law

 9  enforcement or administrative agency or regulatory

10  organization. The agency receiving the personal photographic

11  identification that would be confidential and exempt pursuant

12  to this section must maintain the confidentiality of the

13  information so long as the information would otherwise be

14  confidential.

15         (3)  If personal photographic identification made

16  confidential and exempt under this section is offered as

17  evidence in any administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding,

18  or is otherwise subject to such a proceeding, the presiding

19  officer, in her or his discretion, may prevent the disclosure

20  of information that is confidential and exempt pursuant to

21  this section.

22         (4)  This section is subject to the Open Government

23  Sunset Review Act of 1995 in accordance with s. 119.15 and

24  shall stand repealed on October 2, 2009, unless reviewed and

25  saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.

26         Section 4.  Section 717.12402, Florida Statutes, is

27  created to read:

28         717.12402  Public records exemption for database

29  subscription required to be confidential by the database

30  vendor.--A database subscribed to by the department and

31  information derived from the database is confidential and

                                  4

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State

 2  Constitution if the database vendor requires confidentiality.

 3  This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review

 4  Act of 1995 in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand

 5  repealed on October 2, 2009, unless reviewed and saved from

 6  repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.

 7         Section 5.  Subsection (5) of section 717.1301, Florida

 8  Statutes, is amended to read:

 9         717.1301  Investigations; examinations; subpoenas.--

10         (5)(a)  Except as otherwise provided by this section,

11  information received or created during an investigation or

12  examination by the Department of Financial Services pursuant

13  to this chapter, including any consumer complaint, is

14  confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I

15  of the State Constitution until the investigation or

16  examination is completed or ceases to be active.

17         (b)  The department may provide such confidential and

18  exempt information to a law enforcement agency, administrative

19  agency, or regulatory organization in the furtherance of its

20  duties and responsibilities. The law enforcement agency,

21  administrative agency, or regulatory organization must

22  maintain the confidential and exempt status of the information

23  so long as it would otherwise be confidential and exempt.

24         (c)  If such confidential and exempt information is

25  offered into evidence in any administrative, civil, or

26  criminal proceeding, the presiding officer may, in her or his

27  discretion, prevent the disclosure of such information.

28         (d)  Such information shall remain confidential and

29  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State

30  Constitution until after the department completes its

31  investigation or examination or the investigation or

                                  5

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1  examination ceases to be active to the extent disclosure

 2  would:

 3         1.  Jeopardize the integrity of another active

 4  investigation.

 5         2.  Reveal the name, address, telephone number, social

 6  security number, or any other identifying information of a

 7  complainant, customer, or account holder, except as authorized

 8  by s. 717.1171.

 9         3.  Reveal the identity of a confidential source.

10         4.  Reveal investigative techniques or procedures.

11         5.  Reveal a trade secret as defined in s. 688.002.

12         6.  Reveal proprietary business information obtained by

13  the department from any person which is only made available to

14  the department on a confidential or similarly restricted

15  basis.

16  

17  For purposes of this subsection, an investigation or

18  examination shall be considered "active" so long as the

19  department or any law enforcement or administrative agency or

20  regulatory organization is proceeding with reasonable dispatch

21  and has a reasonable good faith belief that the investigation

22  or examination may lead to the filing of an administrative,

23  civil, or criminal proceeding or to the denial or conditional

24  grant of a license, registration, or permit. This subsection

25  does not prohibit disclosure of information that is required

26  by law to be filed with the department and, but for the

27  investigation or examination, would be subject to s.

28  119.07(1).

29         (e)  This exemption does not prohibit disclosure of

30  information that is required by law to be filed with the

31  

                                  6

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1  department or that is otherwise subject to s. 119.07(1) and s.

 2  24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.

 3         (f)  This subsection is subject to the Open Government

 4  Sunset Review Act of 1995 in accordance with s. 119.15, and

 5  shall stand repealed on October 2, 2009, unless reviewed and

 6  saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. The

 7  material compiled by the department in an investigation or

 8  examination under this chapter is confidential until the

 9  investigation or examination is complete. The material

10  compiled by the department in an investigation or examination

11  under this chapter remains confidential after the department's

12  investigation or examination is complete if the department has

13  submitted the material or any part of it to any law

14  enforcement agency or other administrative agency for further

15  investigation or for the filing of a criminal or civil

16  prosecution and such investigation has not been completed or

17  become inactive.

18         Section 6.  Section 717.1342, Florida Statutes, is

19  created to read:

20         717.1342  Criminal penalties for disclosure of

21  confidential records.--Any person who willfully and knowingly

22  violates s. 717.1171 or s. 717.12401 commits a felony of the

23  third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.

24  775.083.

25         Section 7.  (1)  The Legislature finds that it is a

26  public necessity that social security numbers and financial

27  account numbers of apparent owners of unclaimed property which

28  are in the custody of the Department of Financial Services be

29  made confidential and exempt in order to prevent identity

30  theft and related crimes. The Legislature further finds that

31  this exemption is a public necessity in order to prevent the

                                  7

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1  use of such information in forged documents demonstrating

 2  entitlement to unclaimed property and thereby defrauding the

 3  rightful property owner or the State School Fund.

 4  Additionally, the social security number is the only

 5  nationwide, unique numeric form of identification. Release of

 6  a person's social security number is of concern due to the

 7  amount of information about an individual which that number

 8  can provide. A social security number is often the link to an

 9  individual's personal records, whether such records are

10  financial, educational, medical, or familial in nature.

11  Social security numbers furnished to registered owner

12  representatives by the Department of Financial Services under

13  current law have been released in solicitations to prospective

14  unclaimed property clients.  Additionally, social security

15  numbers furnished to an owner's representative were used to

16  manufacture and submit fraudulent documents in order to obtain

17  unclaimed property in excess of $350,000 from the department.

18  Accordingly, once the social security numbers are released,

19  the department has no control over what the recipients of the

20  social security number information do with this sensitive

21  information. The Legislature further finds that the continued

22  release of social security numbers, and this lack of control,

23  jeopardizes the financial security of potentially hundreds of

24  thousands of individuals whose social security numbers are

25  held by the Department of Financial Services on the unclaimed

26  property database.  Therefore, the harm from disclosure

27  outweighs any public benefit obtained from the release of such

28  information.

29         (2)  The Legislature finds that it is a public

30  necessity that unclaimed property account dollar amounts and

31  the number of reported shares of stock which are in the

                                  8

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1  custody of the Department of Financial Services be made

 2  confidential and exempt in order to prevent unclaimed property

 3  fraud and related crimes. The Legislature further finds that

 4  this exemption is a public necessity in order to prevent

 5  criminal elements from using such information to identify

 6  which accounts to claim by using forged documents

 7  demonstrating entitlement to unclaimed property, thereby

 8  defrauding the rightful property owner or the State School

 9  Fund. Therefore, the harm from disclosure outweighs any public

10  benefit obtained from the release of such information. The

11  Legislature further finds that it is necessary, however, to

12  provide access to unclaimed property account dollar amounts

13  and the number of reported shares of stock to an attorney

14  licensed to practice law in this state, a licensed

15  Florida-certified public accountant, or a private investigator

16  licensed under chapter 493, Florida Statutes, and registered

17  with the department, because they are the only persons, other

18  than the owner or an heir of the original owner, who are

19  authorized to file claims on behalf of owners of unclaimed

20  property pursuant to chapter 717, Florida Statutes.  Providing

21  access to unclaimed property account dollar amounts and the

22  number of reported shares of stock to an attorney licensed to

23  practice law in this state, a licensed Florida-certified

24  public accountant, or a private investigator licensed under

25  chapter 493, Florida Statutes, and registered with the

26  department, will assist them in determining which accounts to

27  pursue on behalf of owners.

28         (3)  The Legislature finds that it is a public

29  necessity that all personal photographic identifications that

30  are in the custody of the Department of Financial Services be

31  made confidential and exempt in order to prevent identity

                                  9

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1  theft and related crimes. The Legislature further finds that

 2  this exemption is a public necessity in order to prevent the

 3  use of such information in forged documents demonstrating

 4  entitlement to abandoned or unclaimed property and thereby

 5  defrauding the rightful property owner or the State School

 6  Fund. Release of a person's personal photographic

 7  identification is of concern due to the ability to use

 8  personal photographic identification to obtain access to an

 9  individual's personal records, whether such records are

10  financial, educational, medical, or familial in nature.

11  Concerns by the public over the release of personal

12  photographic identifications that are in the custody of the

13  Department of Financial Services has created a reluctance by

14  some members of the public to claim their unclaimed property.

15  Making personal photographic identification exempt from

16  disclosure will reduce public fears of identity theft and

17  promote the goal of returning unclaimed property to owners.

18  Therefore, the harm from disclosure outweighs any public

19  benefit obtained from the release of such information.

20         (4)  The Legislature finds that it is a public

21  necessity that the Department of Financial Services use the

22  most current and efficient database resources in a

23  cost-effective manner to notify owners of unclaimed property,

24  to verify whether claimants are entitled to unclaimed

25  property, and in order to prevent unclaimed property fraud and

26  related crimes. The Legislature further finds that this

27  exemption is a public necessity in order to help prevent

28  criminal elements from successfully using forged documents or

29  erroneous information demonstrating entitlement to abandoned

30  or unclaimed property, thereby defrauding the rightful

31  property owner or the State School Fund. Making such databases

                                  10

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1  confidential will reduce the concerns of vendors, due to

 2  federal legislation, about the public release of such

 3  information.  Accordingly, the harm from disclosure outweighs

 4  any public benefit obtained from the release of such

 5  information.

 6         (5)(a)  The Legislature finds that it is a public

 7  necessity that information received or created during an

 8  investigation or examination conducted by the Department of

 9  Financial Services pursuant to chapter 717, Florida Statutes,

10  including any consumer complaint, be confidential and exempt

11  from section 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and Section 24(a),

12  Article I of the State Constitution until the investigation or

13  examination is completed or ceases to be active or if the

14  department submits the information to any law enforcement or

15  administrative agency or regulatory organization for further

16  investigation and that agency's or organization's

17  investigation is completed or ceases to be active, in order to

18  protect the integrity of such investigations or examinations.

19  An investigation or examination may lead to filing an

20  administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding or to denying or

21  conditionally granting a license, registration, or permit. The

22  public necessity exists to the extent disclosure might

23  jeopardize the integrity of another active investigation or

24  examination; reveal the name, address, telephone number,

25  social security number, or any other identifying information

26  of any complainant, customer, or account holder subject to the

27  provisions of section 717.1171, Florida Statutes; disclose the

28  identity of a confidential source; disclose investigative

29  techniques or procedures; reveal a trade secret as defined in

30  section 688.002, Florida Statutes; or reveal proprietary

31  business information.

                                  11

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1         (b)  Examinations and investigations by the department

 2  frequently involve the gathering of personal, sensitive

 3  information concerning individuals, such as complainants,

 4  customers, account holders, or other confidential sources. The

 5  department may not otherwise have this information in its

 6  possession but for the examination or investigation. Because

 7  of the sensitive nature of the information gathered, the

 8  information should not be made available to the public. If

 9  disclosed, this information may cause unwarranted damage to

10  such persons by facilitating identity theft or jeopardizing

11  the safety of such individuals.

12         (c)  Revealing investigative techniques or procedures

13  may inhibit the effective and efficient administration of the

14  department to conduct investigations. Revelation of such

15  techniques or procedures could allow a person to hide or

16  conceal violations of law that would have otherwise been

17  discovered during and examination or investigation. As such,

18  the department's ability to perform an effective investigation

19  or examination may be hindered.

20         (d)  Proprietary information or trade secrets are on

21  occasion necessary for the office to review as part of an

22  ongoing examination or investigation. Disclosure of such

23  information to the public may cause injury to the affected

24  entity in the marketplace if revealed. Providing the

25  confidentiality will provide the department with the necessary

26  tool to perform its function while maintaining adequate

27  protection for the affected business.

28         Section 8.  This act shall take effect October 1, 2004,

29  if SB 2288, or substantially similar legislation, is adopted

30  in the same Legislative session or an extension thereof and

31  becomes law.

                                  12

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    Florida Senate - 2004                           CS for SB 2290
    311-2239-04




 1          STATEMENT OF SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES CONTAINED IN
                       COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
 2                         Senate Bill 2290

 3                                 

 4  Permits the Department of Financial Services (Department) to
    release the last four digits of social security numbers held
 5  by the Department to a Florida licensed attorney,
    Florida-certified public accountant, or a Florida licensed
 6  private investigator that is registered with the Department
    under ch. 717, F.S.
 7  
    Creates a public records exemption for information received or
 8  created by the Department during an investigation or
    examination. Exempt information is confidential until the
 9  investigation concludes or is inactive, with exceptions.

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                                  13

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