September 23, 2020
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HB 529

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to public records; amending s. 400.0077,
3F.S.; providing an exemption from public records
4requirements for personal identifying and location
5information of any certified ombudsman or employee of the
6Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman within the
7Department of Elderly Affairs and the spouses and children
8of such ombudsmen or employees; correcting an obsolete
9reference; providing for future review and repeal of the
10exemption; providing a finding of public necessity;
11providing an effective date.
13Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
15     Section 1.  Subsection (1) of section 400.0077, Florida
16Statutes, is amended to read:
17     400.0077  Confidentiality.-
18     (1)(a)  The following are confidential and exempt from the
19provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
21     1.(a)  Resident records held by the ombudsman or by the
22state or a local ombudsman council.
23     2.(b)  The names or identities of the complainants or
24residents involved in a complaint, including any problem
25identified by an ombudsman council as a result of an
26investigation, unless:
27     a.1.  The complainant or resident, or the legal
28representative of the complainant or resident, consents to the
29disclosure in writing;
30     b.2.  The complainant or resident consents orally and the
31consent is documented contemporaneously in writing by the
32ombudsman council requesting such consent; or
33     c.3.  The disclosure is required by court order.
34     3.(c)  Any other information about a complaint, including
35any problem identified by an ombudsman council as a result of an
36investigation, unless an ombudsman council determines that the
37information does not meet any of the criteria specified in s.
38119.15(6)(b) 119.14(4)(b); or unless the information is to
39collect data for submission to those entities specified in s.
40712(c) of the federal Older Americans Act for the purpose of
41identifying and resolving significant problems.
42     4.a.  The home addresses, telephone numbers, places of
43employment, if any, and photographs of any certified ombudsman
44or employee of the Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman; the
45home addresses, telephone numbers, and places of employment of
46the spouses and children of such ombudsmen or employees; and the
47names and locations of schools and day care facilities attended
48by the children of such ombudsmen or employees.
49     b.  Any state or federal agency that is authorized to have
50access to the information in sub-subparagraph a. by any
51provision of law shall be granted such access in furtherance of
52the agency's statutory duties, notwithstanding the provisions of
53this subsection.
54     (b)  Paragraph (a) is subject to the Open Government Sunset
55Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed
56on October 2, 2015, unless reviewed and saved from repeal
57through reenactment by the Legislature.
58     Section 2.  The Legislature finds that it is a public
59necessity that personal identifying and location information of
60any certified ombudsman or employee of the Office of State Long-
61Term Care Ombudsman within the Department of Elderly Affairs and
62the spouses and children of such ombudsmen or employees be made
63confidential and exempt from public records requirements. Under
64the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, a long-term care
65ombudsman is a designated representative of the program who
66helps to improve the lives of people who live in long-term care
67settings such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and
68adult family care homes by working to identify, explore, and
69resolve the concerns of residents and their loved ones and
70performing annual assessments of all long-term care facilities
71in the state from a resident's perspective. Long-term care
72ombudsmen explore thousands of complaints in long-term care
73facilities each year. Because the personal information of long-
74term care ombudsmen and employees of the Office of State Long-
75Term Care Ombudsman is not currently exempt from disclosure, any
76person who files a public records request can obtain the home
77address, phone number, photograph, and place of employment of an
78ombudsman or employee of the office. Additionally, the names,
79home addresses, telephone numbers, and places of employment of
80spouses and children of ombudsmen and employees of the office
81and the names of schools and day care facilities attended by an
82ombudsman's or employee's children are also not currently exempt
83from disclosure. Much of this information can be found in the
84ombudsman's or employee's program membership application, which
85is a public record. This raises privacy and safety concerns
86among ombudsmen and employees of the office, most of whom are
87volunteers and many of whom are elders themselves. Exempting the
88personal information of an ombudsman or employee of the office
89and the personal identifying and location information of the
90spouses and children of such ombudsmen or employees from
91disclosure will provide the ombudsmen and employees with a sense
92of security, eliminate fears of harassment and retaliation, and
93allay concerns about identity theft. Making the information
94exempt will also lead to increased volunteer retention without
95negatively impacting citizens who request the program's
96documents. Therefore, it is the finding of the Legislature that
97the reasons set forth herein necessitate the exemption.
98     Section 3.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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