September 20, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                             CS for SB 2070
       
       
       
       By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senator Richter
       
       
       
       
       597-03116-10                                          20102070c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public records; creating s.
    3         559.5558, F.S.; providing a public-records exemption
    4         for information held by the Office of Financial
    5         Regulation pursuant to an investigation of consumer
    6         collection agencies; providing for future repeal and
    7         legislative review of the exemption under the Open
    8         Government Sunset Review Act; providing a statement of
    9         public necessity; providing a contingent effective
   10         date.
   11  
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   13  
   14         Section 1. Section 559.5558, Florida Statutes, is created
   15  to read:
   16         559.5558Public-records exemption.—
   17         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term
   18  “personal financial information” means:
   19         (a) The existence, nature, source, or amount of a
   20  consumer’s personal income, expenses, and debt;
   21         (b) Records of or related to a consumer’s financial
   22  transactions of any kind; or
   23         (c) The existence, identification, nature, or value of a
   24  consumer’s assets, liabilities, or net worth.
   25         (2) INVESTIGATIONS.—
   26         (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section,
   27  information held by the office pursuant to an investigation of a
   28  violation of this part is confidential and exempt from s.
   29  119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
   30  However, information made confidential and exempt pursuant to
   31  this section may be disclosed by the office to a law enforcement
   32  agency or another administrative agency in the performance of
   33  its official duties and responsibilities.
   34         (b) Information made confidential and exempt pursuant to
   35  this section shall remain confidential and exempt until the
   36  investigation is completed or ceases to be active unless
   37  disclosure of the information would:
   38         1. Jeopardize the integrity of another active
   39  investigation;
   40         2. Reveal the personal identifying information or personal
   41  financial information of a consumer unless the consumer is also
   42  the complainant. In the case of a complainant, the complainant’s
   43  personal identifying information is subject to disclosure after
   44  the investigation is completed or ceases to be active; however,
   45  the complainant’s personal financial information remains
   46  confidential and exempt;
   47         3. Reveal the identity of a confidential source;
   48         4. Reveal investigative techniques or procedures; or
   49         5. Reveal trade secrets, as defined in s. 688.002.
   50         (c) For purposes of this section, an investigation shall be
   51  considered active if the investigation is proceeding with
   52  reasonable dispatch and the office has a reasonable good faith
   53  belief that the investigation may lead to the filing of an
   54  administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding or the denial or
   55  conditional grant of an application for registration or other
   56  approval required under this part.
   57         (3) REVIEW AND REPEAL.—This section is subject to the Open
   58  Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and
   59  shall stand repealed on October 2, 2015, unless reviewed and
   60  saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
   61         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
   62  necessity that information held by the office pursuant to an
   63  investigation conducted under part VI of chapter 559, Florida
   64  Statutes, be confidential and exempt from public-records
   65  requirements for the following reasons:
   66         (1) An investigation conducted by the Office of Financial
   67  Regulation may lead to the filing of an administrative, civil,
   68  or criminal proceeding or to the denial or conditional granting
   69  of a registration. The premature release of such information
   70  could frustrate or thwart the investigation and impair the
   71  ability of the office to effectively and efficiently administer
   72  part VI of chapter 559, Florida Statutes.
   73         (2) Information held by the Office of Financial Regulation
   74  which is provided to a law enforcement agency or another
   75  administration agency for further investigation needs to remain
   76  confidential and exempt until the investigation is completed or
   77  ceases to be active. Release of this information before the
   78  completion of that investigation would jeopardize the integrity
   79  of the investigation and impair the ability of other agencies to
   80  carry out their statutory duties.
   81         (3) Investigations frequently involve the gathering of
   82  sensitive personal information, including financial information,
   83  concerning complainants and consumers. The office may not
   84  otherwise have access to this sensitive personal information but
   85  for the investigation. Because of the sensitive personal nature
   86  of the information gathered, the disclosure of this information
   87  to the public could cause unwarranted damage to the good name or
   88  reputation of the individuals, especially if information
   89  associated with the individual is inaccurate. Furthermore,
   90  access to such information could jeopardize the financial safety
   91  of the individual who is the subject of that information by
   92  placing the person at risk of becoming the object of identity
   93  theft.
   94         (4) Releasing information identifying a confidential source
   95  could jeopardize both the integrity of a current and future
   96  investigation as well as the safety of the confidential source.
   97         (5) Revealing investigative techniques and procedures could
   98  allow a person to hide or conceal violations of law that
   99  otherwise would have been discovered during an investigation.
  100  This exemption is necessary for the office, as well as law
  101  enforcement and other administrative agencies, in order for such
  102  agencies to effectively and efficiently carry out their
  103  statutory duties, which would be significantly impaired without
  104  this exemption.
  105         (6) A trade secret derives independent economic value,
  106  actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not
  107  readily ascertainable by, other persons who can obtain economic
  108  value from its disclosure or use. Without an exemption for a
  109  trade secret held by the office, that trade secret becomes a
  110  public record when received and must be divulged upon request.
  111  Divulging a trade secret under the public-records law would
  112  destroy the value of that property, causing a financial loss to
  113  the person or entity submitting the trade secret. Release of
  114  that information would give business competitors an unfair
  115  advantage and weaken the position of the person or entity
  116  supplying the trade secret in the marketplace.
  117         Section 3. This act shall take effect on the same date that
  118  SB 1702 or similar legislation takes effect if such legislation
  119  is adopted in the same legislative session, or an extension
  120  thereof, and becomes law.

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