Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual
Chapter updated: 01/14/2011

F. Section 11.0431, Florida Statutes - Legislative Records; Exemptions from Public Disclosure

11.0431 Legislative records; intent of legislation; exemption from public disclosure.--
(1) It is the policy of the Legislature that every person has the right to inspect and copy records of the Senate and the House of Representatives received in connection with the official business of the Legislature as provided for by the constitution of this state. To that end, public records shall be open to personal inspection and copying at reasonable times except when specific public necessity justifies that public records be exempt from such inspection and copying.
(2) The following public records are exempt from inspection and copying:

(a) Records, or information contained therein, held by the legislative branch of government which, if held by an agency as defined in s. 119.011, or any other unit of government, would be confidential or exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), or otherwise exempt from public disclosure, and records or information of the same type held by the Legislature.

(b) A formal complaint about a member or officer of the Legislature or about a lobbyist and the records relating to the complaint, until the complaint is dismissed, a determination as to probable cause has been made, a determination that there are sufficient grounds for review has been made and no probable cause panel is to be appointed, or the respondent has requested in writing that the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives make public the complaint or other records relating to the complaint, whichever occurs first.

(c) A legislatively produced draft, and a legislative request for a draft, of a bill, resolution, memorial, or legislative rule, and an amendment thereto, which is not provided to any person other than the member or members who requested the draft, an employee of the Legislature, a member of the Legislature who is a supervisor of the legislative employee, a contract employee or consultant retained by the Legislature, or an officer of the Legislature.

(d) A draft of a bill analysis or fiscal note until the bill analysis or fiscal note is provided to a person other than an employee of the Legislature, a contract employee or consultant retained by the Legislature, or an officer of the Legislature.

(e) A draft, and a request for a draft, of a reapportionment plan or redistricting plan and an amendment thereto. Any supporting documents associated with such plan or amendment until a bill implementing the plan, or the amendment, is filed.

(f) Records prepared for or used in executive sessions of the Senate until 10 years after the date on which the executive session was held.

(g) Portions of records of former legislative investigating committees whose records are sealed or confidential as of June 30, 1993, which may reveal the identity of any witness, any person who was a subject of the inquiry, or any person referred to in testimony, documents, or evidence retained in the committee's records; however, this exemption does not apply to a member of the committee, its staff, or any public official who was not a subject of the inquiry.

(h) Requests by members for an advisory opinion concerning the application of the rules of either house pertaining to ethics, unless the member requesting the opinion authorizes in writing the release of such information. All advisory opinions shall be open to inspection except that the identity of the member shall not be disclosed in the opinion unless the member requesting the opinion authorizes in writing the release of such information.

(i) Portions of correspondence held by the legislative branch which, if disclosed, would reveal: information otherwise exempt from disclosure by law; an individual's medical treatment, history, or condition; the identity or location of an individual if there is a substantial likelihood that releasing such information would jeopardize the health or safety of that individual; or information regarding physical abuse, child abuse, spouse abuse, or abuse of the elderly.

(3) Any record created prior to July 1, 1993, which was not available to the public from the house, commission, committee, or office of the legislative branch that created the record, is exempt from inspection and copying until July 1, 1993. Prior to July 1, 1993, the presiding officer of each house shall determine which records held by that house should remain exempt from inspection and copying. The presiding officers of both houses shall jointly determine which records held by joint committees should remain exempt from inspection and copying. No later than July 1, 1993, the presiding officers shall publish a list of records that remain exempt from inspection and copying.

(4) For purposes of this section, "public record" means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by the legislative branch.

(5) Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the authority of each house of the Legislature to adopt rules pursuant to Art. I, s. 24 of the State Constitution.