Adopted in 2013, Sec. 119.0701 codifies the obligations of public contractors with respect to compliance with Florida’s public records laws. This statute requires contractors acting on behalf of a public agency to maintain public records in the same manner as would be required by the public agency and to make those records available to the public. In an effort to curb abusive litigation tactics, legislation (HB 163/SB0224) has been filed amending this section. It requires each contract to have in bold type the name of the agency's public records custodian and directing the contractor to the custodian if there are any questions regarding public records requirements. It also seeks to limit the circumstances in which attorney's fees can be assessed in a civil action by requiring advanced written notice to the public agency records custodian by certified mail at least 5 days before filing a complaint and specific written findings by the judge that the contractor acted in bad faith. FAC staff is currently analyzing the bill and seeking input from county attorneys.
For any questions related to this issue, please contact Laura Youmans, FAC Public Safety Advocate.