Section 120.53, Florida Statutes 2001
120.53 Maintenance of orders; indexing; listing; organizational information.--
(1)(a) Each agency shall maintain:
1. All agency final orders.
2.a. A current hierarchical subject-matter index, identifying for the public any rule or order as specified in this subparagraph.
b. In lieu of the requirement for making available for public inspection and copying a hierarchical subject-matter index of its orders, an agency may maintain and make available for public use an electronic database of its orders that allows users to research and retrieve the full texts of agency orders by devising an ad hoc indexing system employing any logical search terms in common usage which are composed by the user and which are contained in the orders of the agency or by descriptive information about the order which may not be specifically contained in the order.
c. The agency orders that must be indexed, unless excluded under paragraph (c) or paragraph (d), include:
(I) Each final agency order resulting from a proceeding under s. 120.57 or s. 120.573.
(II) Each final agency order rendered pursuant to s. 120.57(4) which contains a statement of agency policy that may be the basis of future agency decisions or that may otherwise contain a statement of precedential value.
(III) Each declaratory statement issued by an agency.
(IV) Each final order resulting from a proceeding under s. 120.56 or s. 120.574.
3. A list of all final orders rendered pursuant to s. 120.57(4) which have been excluded from the indexing requirement of this section, with the approval of the Department of State, because they do not contain statements of agency policy or statements of precedential value. The list must include the name of the parties to the proceeding and the number assigned to the final order.
4. All final orders listed pursuant to subparagraph 3.
(b) An agency final order that must be indexed or listed pursuant to paragraph (a) must be indexed or listed within 120 days after the order is rendered. Each final order that must be indexed or listed pursuant to paragraph (a) must have attached a copy of the complete text of any materials incorporated by reference; however, if the quantity of the materials incorporated makes attachment of the complete text of the materials impractical, the order may contain a statement of the location of such materials and the manner in which the public may inspect or obtain copies of the materials incorporated by reference. The Department of State shall establish by rule procedures for indexing final orders, and procedures of agencies for indexing orders must be approved by the department.
(c) Each agency must receive approval in writing from the Department of State for:
1. The specific types and categories of agency final orders that may be excluded from the indexing and public inspection requirements, as determined by the department pursuant to paragraph (d).
2. The method for maintaining indexes, lists, and final orders that must be indexed or listed and made available to the public.
3. The method by which the public may inspect or obtain copies of indexes, lists, and final orders.
4. A sequential numbering system which numbers all final orders required to be indexed or listed pursuant to paragraph (a), in the order rendered.
5. Proposed rules for implementing the requirements of this section for indexing and making final orders available for public inspection.
(d) In determining which final orders may be excluded from the indexing and public inspection requirements, the Department of State may consider all factors specified by an agency, including precedential value, legal significance, and purpose. Only agency final orders that are of limited or no precedential value, that are of limited or no legal significance, or that are ministerial in nature may be excluded.
(e) Each agency shall specify the specific types or categories of agency final orders that are excluded from the indexing and public inspection requirements.
(f) Each agency shall specify the location or locations where agency indexes, lists, and final orders that are required to be indexed or listed are maintained and shall specify the method or procedure by which the public may inspect or obtain copies of indexes, lists, and final orders.
(g) Each agency shall specify all systems in use by the agency to search and locate agency final orders that are required to be indexed or listed, including, but not limited to, any automated system. An agency shall make the search capabilities employed by the agency available to the public subject to reasonable terms and conditions, including a reasonable charge, as provided by s. 119.07. The agency shall specify how assistance and information pertaining to final orders may be obtained.
(h) Each agency shall specify the numbering system used to identify agency final orders.
(2)(a) An agency may comply with subparagraphs (1)(a)1. and 2. by designating an official reporter to publish and index by subject matter each agency order that must be indexed and made available to the public. An agency is in compliance with subparagraph (1)(a)3. if it publishes in its designated reporter a list of each agency final order that must be listed and preserves each listed order and makes it available for public inspection and copying.
(b) An agency may publish its official reporter or may contract with a publishing firm to publish its official reporter; however, if an agency contracts with a publishing firm to publish its reporter, the agency is responsible for the quality, timeliness, and usefulness of the reporter. The Department of State may publish an official reporter for an agency or may contract with a publishing firm to publish the reporter for the agency; however, if the department contracts for publication of the reporter, the department is responsible for the quality, timeliness, and usefulness of the reporter. A reporter that is designated by an agency as its official reporter and approved by the Department of State constitutes the official compilation of the administrative final orders for that agency.
(c) A reporter that is published by the Department of State may be made available by annual subscription, and each agency that designates an official reporter published by the department may be charged a space rate payable to the department. The subscription rate and the space rate must be equitably apportioned to cover the costs of publishing the reporter.
(d) An agency that designates an official reporter need not publish the full text of an agency final order that is rendered pursuant to s. 120.57(4) and that must be indexed pursuant to paragraph (1)(a), if the final order is preserved by the agency and made available for public inspection and copying and the official reporter indexes the final order and includes a synopsis of the order. A synopsis must include the names of the parties to the order; any rule, statute, or constitutional provision pertinent to the order; a summary of the facts, if included in the order, which are pertinent to the final disposition; and a summary of the final disposition.
(3) Agency orders that must be indexed or listed are documents of continuing legal value and must be permanently preserved and made available to the public. Each agency to which this chapter applies shall provide, under the direction of the Department of State, for the preservation of orders as required by this chapter and for maintaining an index to those orders.
(4) Each agency must provide any person who makes a request with a written description of its organization and the general course of its operations.
History.--s. 1, ch. 74-310; s. 2, ch. 75-191; s. 2, ch. 76-131; s. 2, ch. 79-299; s. 1, ch. 81-296; s. 2, ch. 81-309; s. 8, ch. 83-92; s. 34, ch. 83-217; s. 3, ch. 83-273; s. 1, ch. 84-203; s. 77, ch. 85-180; s. 2, ch. 87-100; s. 2, ch. 88-384; s. 44, ch. 90-136; s. 35, ch. 90-302; s. 2, ch. 91-30; s. 79, ch. 91-45; s. 1, ch. 91-191; s. 1, ch. 92-166; s. 143, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 757, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 96-159; s. 2, ch. 96-423; s. 2, ch. 97-176.