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Public Records

As reported by The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting current public records laws have created abuses designed to coerce cash settlements from both governments and government contractors.

Florida Business Watch actively supports transparent open government and Florida's tradition of open public records but will fight these abuses. Bad actors are taking advantage of government contractors and making it more expensive for governments to deliver services residents need and value.

FBW supports changes that would protect taxpayers through the establishment of a "custodian of the record" at the government agency, insuring that requests are made through a person trained to handle them and responsible for maintaining the records.

Further, FBW supports the creation of a "notice and remedy" period before the requester can file suit and be eligible for attorney fees. This period would allow the record holder time to address possible oversights.

FBW appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review in late 2014:
(Senator) Simpson has been conferring with trade associations, including Florida Business Watch, a network of government contractors. Its president, Beth Rawlins, daughter of journalist Tom Rawlins, said she supports the general direction of Simpson's bill.

"I have a strong respect for open government and accountability," she said. "But this situation is so egregious - the Citizens Awareness Foundation has abused [the 2013 amendment]. This kind of legislation is necessary, and I don't see it as mutually exclusive from open government."
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