Bill Would Allow University Foundations to Discuss Research in Private

By on April 1st, 2014

A proposed senate bill would carve out an exemption to public-records and open-meetings laws for Florida university foundations considering research proposals.

House Bill 115, which passed Thursday by a vote of 83-33, would allow foundation boards of universities to meet secretly if they are discussing research proposals or spending.

The bill comes months after the University of Florida announced UF Rising, a campaign to expand research initiatives and attain Top-Ten status amongst public research institutions.

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda stands in opposition of the bill and said she is trying to retain transparency for the media.

“I just wanted to have that check and balance so the press could find out who was funding the research and generally what the research was,” she said.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda said the public needs to know who research is funded by so they can draw their own conclusions.

“People need to be able to see what’s being researched, what the outcome of that research is, so we can make our own determinations and we’re not kept in the dark about what our taxpayer-funded universities are doing,” she said.

However, supporters like Rep. Cary Pigman, the sponsor of the bill, said research proposals contain trade secrets and require secrecy in order to prevent their ideas from being stolen.

He said the bill exists in order to protect researchers, not keep people out.

“If we didn’t have the public meetings exemption, then the moment you showed up to talk about your new idea, it could be taken over by anyone,” Pigman said. “Typically, these devices at this point aren’t patented. They’re not complete.”

The bill, which would go into effect Oct. 1, requires a two-thirds vote to create exemptions to the public-records and open-meetings laws.

Alex Harris contributed to this report.


This entry was posted in Florida, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Dopple Gang

    Where unleashed along with the courage and industry that liberty begets, competition has been proven to best motivate genius and creativity


More Stories in Florida

DCF, Senators Eye Ways To Bolster Child Protection

A total of 369 child deaths have been called in to the state abuse hotline so far in 2015. That means Florida is on track to have roughly as many child deaths this year as it did before passing a sweeping child-welfare reform law in 2014.

Open-Carry Gun Bill Bangs Into Business Concerns

Several lawmakers in both parties and an influential business group expressed concerns about the potential impact of the proposal on private property rights.

Sofia DeCerce, 21, a senior studying health education and behavior, and Lindsay Pearl, 19, a sophomore studying health science discuss programs GatorWell offers with Ronit Dastidar, 19, a microbiology sophomore. "People are going to keep doing what they're doing, but it's important to make sure that they're informed to the correct way to do those activities," Dastidar said.

Florida Ranked 47th In Sexual Health, Could Be Due To Educational Lack

Florida ranked 47th in the United States for sexual health by the State by State Safer Sex Index. Melissa St. Onge, communications manager for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, said she was not surprised to hear Florida ranked so low on the survey, and that sexual health conversations should start at home and continue with education in class.

Survey: Floridians Oppose Guns On Campus

Almost three-quarters of Floridians — 73 percent — oppose allowing students with concealed-weapons permits to carry guns on campus.


Judge Refuses to Stop Florida Black Bear Hunt

A Leon County judged ruled that Florida’s first black bear hunt in 21 years will indeed happen. The ruling says that a state wildlife agency was within its right to schedule the hunt.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments