September 29, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 2494
       
       
       
       By Senator Fasano
       
       
       
       
       11-02245-10                                           20102494__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records and meetings;
    3         amending s. 112.324, F.S.; providing an exemption from
    4         public-records requirements for a determination by the
    5         Commission on Ethics regarding an information or a
    6         written referral of an alleged violation of part III
    7         of ch. 112, F.S., the Code of Ethics for Public
    8         Officers and Employees; providing an exemption from
    9         public-meetings requirements for any proceeding
   10         conducted by the commission or a local Commission on
   11         Ethics and Public Trust pursuant to such information
   12         or referral; authorizing the commission and its staff
   13         to share investigative information with criminal
   14         investigative agencies; providing for review and
   15         repeal of the exemptions under the Open Government
   16         Sunset Review Act; providing a statement of public
   17         necessity; providing a contingent effective date.
   18  
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20  
   21         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 112.324, Florida
   22  Statutes, is amended to read:
   23         112.324 Procedures on complaints of violations; public
   24  records and meeting exemptions.—
   25         (2)(a) The complaint and records relating to the complaint
   26  or to any preliminary investigation or the commission’s
   27  determination regarding the information or the referral, as
   28  provided in this section, held by the commission or its agents
   29  or by a Commission on Ethics and Public Trust established by any
   30  county defined in s. 125.011(1) or by any municipality defined
   31  in s. 165.031 are confidential and exempt from the provisions of
   32  s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, and
   33  any proceeding conducted by the commission or a Commission on
   34  Ethics and Public Trust, pursuant to a complaint, information,
   35  or referral as provided in this section, or preliminary
   36  investigation, is exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011, s.
   37  24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution, and s. 120.525, until
   38  the complaint is dismissed as legally insufficient, until the
   39  alleged violator requests in writing that such records and
   40  proceedings be made public, until the commission determines that
   41  it will not investigate the complaint or referral, or until the
   42  commission or a Commission on Ethics and Public Trust
   43  determines, based on such investigation, whether probable cause
   44  exists to believe that a violation has occurred. The
   45  confidentiality requirements of this subsection do not prohibit
   46  the commission or its staff from sharing investigative
   47  information with criminal investigative agencies. In no event
   48  shall A complaint under this part against a candidate in any
   49  general, special, or primary election may not be filed and or
   50  any intention of filing such a complaint may not be disclosed on
   51  the day of any such election or within the 5 days immediately
   52  preceding the date of the election.
   53         (b) Paragraph (a) is subject to the Open Government Sunset
   54  Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed
   55  on October 2, 2015 2010, unless reviewed and saved from repeal
   56  through reenactment by the Legislature.
   57         Section 2. The Legislature finds it a public necessity that
   58  the information or referral of an alleged violation of part III
   59  of chapter 112, Florida Statutes, the Code of Ethics for Public
   60  Officers and Employees, be held confidential and exempt from s.
   61  119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the
   62  State Constitution until the information or referral is
   63  dismissed as legally insufficient, until the alleged violator
   64  requests in writing that such records and proceedings be made
   65  public, until the Commission on Ethics determines that it will
   66  not investigate the complaint or referral, or until the
   67  commission or a Commission on Ethics and Public Trust
   68  determines, based on such investigation, whether probable cause
   69  exists to believe that a violation has occurred. This exemption
   70  is necessary because the release of such information could
   71  potentially be defamatory to an individual under investigation
   72  or cause unwarranted damage to the good name or reputation of
   73  such individual. In addition, the Legislature finds it a public
   74  necessity that any proceeding conducted by a county or municipal
   75  Commission on Ethics and Public Trust pursuant to an information
   76  or referral be exempt from s. 286.011, Florida Statutes, s.
   77  24(b), Article I of the State Constitution, and s. 120.525,
   78  Florida Statutes, so that the administration of such proceeding
   79  is not otherwise significantly impaired. The exemption of these
   80  proceedings from public-meetings requirements minimizes the
   81  possibility of unnecessary scrutiny by the public or media of
   82  individuals under investigation and their families. Furthermore,
   83  the Legislature has already recognized the importance of the
   84  aforementioned public-records and public-meetings exemptions by
   85  exempting the records and meetings of the state Commission on
   86  Ethics and those of a Commission on Ethics and Public Trust
   87  formed by a county or municipality.
   88         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010, only if
   89  Senate Bill ____ or similar legislation is adopted in the same
   90  legislative session or an extension thereof and becomes law.

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