Section 15.16, Florida Statutes 2001
15.16 Reproduction of records; admissibility in evidence; electronic receipt and transmission of records; certification; acknowledgment.--
(1) The Department of State may cause to be made copies of any records maintained by it by miniature photographic microfilming or microphotographic processes or any other photographic, mechanical, or other process heretofore or hereafter devised, including electronic data processing.
(2) Photographs, nonerasable optical images, or microphotographs in the form of film, facsimiles, or prints of any records made in compliance with the provisions of this section shall have the same force and effect as the originals thereof and shall be treated as originals for the purpose of their admissibility in evidence. Duly certified or authenticated reproductions of such photographs, nonerasable optical images, or microphotographs shall be admitted in evidence equally with the original photographs, nonerasable optical images, or microphotographs.
(3) The Department of State may cause to be received electronically any records that are required to be filed with it pursuant to chapter 55, chapter 606, chapter 607, chapter 608, chapter 617, chapter 620, chapter 621, chapter 679, chapter 713, or chapter 865, through facsimile or other electronic transfers, for the purpose of filing such records. The originals of all such electronically transmitted records must be executed in the manner provided in paragraph (5)(b). The receipt of such electronic transfer constitutes delivery to the department as required by law.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department may certify or acknowledge and electronically transmit any record maintained by it. The certification must be evidenced by a certification code on each page transmitted which must include the filing number of the document, date of transmission, and page number of the total number of pages transmitted, and a sequential certification number assigned by the department which will identify the transmission and be available for verification of any transmitted acknowledgment or certified document.
(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of State shall determine for purposes of electronic filing of any document placed under its jurisdiction for filing or recordation:
(a) The appropriate format, which must be retrievable or reproducible in typewritten or printed form and must be legible.
(b) The manner of execution, which may include any symbol, manual, facsimile, conformed, or electronic signature adopted by a person with the present intent to authenticate a document.
(c) The method of electronic transmission, and fee payment for such document.
(d) The amount of any fee surcharge or discount for the use of an electronic filing format.
(6) Notwithstanding s. 865.09(3)(d), the Department of State may waive the requirement that a person advertise the intention to register a fictitious name if the department indexes the fictitious name registration in a central database available to the public on the Internet.
(7) The Department of State may use government or private sector contractors in the promotion or provision of any electronic filing services.
(8) The Secretary of State may issue apostilles conforming to the requirements of the international treaty known as the Hague Convention of 1961 and may charge a fee for the issuance of apostilles not to exceed $10 per apostille. The Secretary of State has the sole authority in this state to establish, in accordance with the laws of the United States, the requirements and procedures for the issuance of apostilles. The Department of State may adopt rules to implement this subsection.
(9) The Department of State may use government or private sector contractors in the promotion or provision of any electronic filing services and may discount the filing fee in an amount equal to the convenience charge for such electronic filings.
History.--s. 1, ch. 67-15; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 89-341; s. 1, ch. 93-281; s. 12, ch. 99-218; s. 72, ch. 99-251; s. 3, ch. 2001-195; s. 1, ch. 2001-200.