Governor expands access to public information


Historic City News has confirmed that Governor Charlie Crist vetoed two bills Wednesday that would have created new exemptions to the public records law.

The first, SB 166, would have let donors giving money for public buildings – such as a college dorm or a wing of a government-owned hospital – remain anonymous. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, was intended to ease the minds of would-be donors who say they fear for their safety if people find out they’re wealthy enough to make big donations.

The bill was opposed by the First Amedment Foundation, which had lobbied for a veto.

The foundation had also opposed HB 7093. That would have exempted certain propietary business information submitted by telecomm companies to the state, though the foundation didn’t formally ask for a veto.

The governor also signed public records legislation on Wednesday, approving HB 7051, which changes the current exemption for social security numbers.

The law will now allow access to all social security numbers by the media for the purpose of identity verification if the requestor puts the request in writing and verifies that he or she is a reporter.

The legislation deletes a provision that allowed media access to only the last four digits of a government employee’s social security number.

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