SIMPSON & BESHEARS FILE LEGISLATION TO STOP
PUBLIC RECORDS SCAM
Tallahassee, Fla. -
Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) and Representative Halsey Beshears
(R-Monticello) filed Senate Bill 224 and House Bill 163. This
legislation will put an end to the harassment of business owners who
contract with state and local governments.
Florida business owners contract with and perform services for public
agencies," said Senator Simpson. "Over the summer, I learned that across
Florida, individuals are approaching some of these businesses to make
public records requests for only one purpose: creating confusion for the
business owners that leads to frivolous lawsuits to obtain cash
settlements," said Senator Simpson. "The Florida Center for
Investigative Reporting (FCIR) uncovered details about these cases that
are deeply troubling. I am an unwavering supporter of comprehensive
public access laws so citizens can hold their government accountable. In
these cases though, it is clear that the rights of private citizens and
hardworking business owners are being trampled by some unscrupulous
people bent on getting rich off a new scam."
each case that I've reviewed, government agencies have the records that
are being requested," said Rep. Beshears. "Instead of simply asking the
records custodian at the state agency, spam-like emails are sent or
even worse, intimidating individuals wearing cameras go onto private
property and make demands of office staff that have had no training in
our public records laws. This isn't right and we've got to put an end to
abuses have cost businesses and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of
dollars; money that should have been spent providing services to
citizens," said Beth Rawlins, President of Florida Business Watch, a
non-profit trade association for government contractors. "This bill
protects the citizen's right to know, while also protecting contractors
from bad actors scamming the system to line their own pockets."
Read the filed bill.