Public records exemption to protect county and city attorneys nears the finish line

Public records exemption to protect county and city attorneys nears the finish line

Rep. Kristen Arrington

The Legislature is poised to give county and city attorneys a public records exemption to protect against death threats and stalking.

The House voted 119-0 on Thursday to approve HB 103 by Rep. Kristen Arrington, D-Kissimmee.

A vote on a companion, SB 712 by Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, was postponed in the Senate on the same day.

Floor action was temporarily halted in the upper chamber while Senate leaders paid tribute to Powell in his final session before term limits force his exit.

An urban planner, Powell was elected to the Senate in 2016. He served four years in the House after first being elected to the Legislature in 2012.

A final vote could come as soon as Wednesday, when the Senate next goes to the floor.

The bills would establish a public records exemption for county attorneys, assistant county attorneys, deputy county attorneys, city attorneys, assistant city attorneys, and deputy city attorneys and their respective spouses and children.

The exemption would shield from public view information that could identify names, home addresses, telephone numbers, dates of births and photographs.

It would also protect the names and locations of the schools and daycares attended by their respective children.

In a statement of public necessity, the bills note that the attorneys are regularly involved in “legal enforcement proceedings” that have led to “retribution and threats by defendants and other persons on numerous occasions.”

“Such attorneys have received death threats and emails from disgruntled persons advocating the murder of other attorneys. Other incidents have included the stalking of such attorneys and their spouses and children,” the bills state.

The bills are supported by the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties.

Originally published at

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