Florida Senate Approves Bill On Public-Records Abuses

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TALLAHASSEE — A bill that would crack down on abuses of Florida’s public records law has passed the Florida Senate.

The bill (SB 80) was approved 38-0 on Wednesday. It aims to target those who file numerous records requests in order to file lawsuits and receive attorney fees or settlements.

It keeps a provision that requires judges to award attorney’s fees if records are improperly withheld. But it also gives judges latitude to award attorney’s fees against those who file needless lawsuits.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube, also has a requirement that those who file requests must notify an agency at least five days before filing a lawsuit for the purpose of obtaining attorney’s fees.

A similar bill is moving in the Florida House.

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