Gov. Rick Scott on Friday evening announced he had signed another 13 bills from the 2017 Legislative Session into law.
Those bills include SB 118, which Scott’s office said would “prevent businesses that publish arrest photos from charging a fee to remove them if requested.”
The measure was aimed at the growing number of websites that showcase booking mugshots and charge people who ask for their photos to be taken down.
But the bill also includes a section on the “administrative sealing of criminal history records” that open government advocates fear could result in the shutting off of booking information of people whose charges are later dismissed.
The First Amendment Foundation had asked Scott to veto the bill, saying it would “create a process by which millions of criminal history records will be automatically sealed,” posing “a significant threat to the public safety.”
“A person could be charged and tried one or more times for a lewd and lascivious act on a child, for example, and if acquitted or found not guilty, that person would not show up on (a) criminal background check,” wrote Barbara Petersen, the foundation’s president. “If that person then applies for a position with a school or day care center, there would be no mention of the charges.”
Scott, however, said that part of the measure “will not take effect” because it depended on passage of a linked bill, SB 450, to become law. That bill, which died in the Rules Committee, would have exempted “personal identifying information of an adult who participates in a civil citation or prearrest diversion program … from public inspection and copying.”
Scott also approved SB 90, the implementing bill for a constitutional amendment passed by voters in August 2016 that exempts solar and renewable energy devices from property taxes.
“The bill removes burdensome taxes on solar installations by exempting 80 percent of their value from the tangible personal property tax,” according to a Friday evening press release from Floridians for Solar Choice. “It also exempts 80 percent of the value of a solar installation from the assessment of real property taxes for commercial properties.”
“Reducing taxes is smart energy policy, and I’m proud to see Gov. Scott sign this important legislation into law,” said Tory Perfetti, chair of Floridians for Solar Choice and Florida director of Conservatives for Energy Freedom.
“This effort has been supported by a historic coalition and unanimous legislative support, along with a resounding public vote,” Perfetti added. “The Sunshine State has spoken, and they said: We want the freedom to choose solar.”
The other bills are listed below, with descriptions provided by the Governor’s Office:
||Hospice Care – This bill directs the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Agency for Health Care Administration to adopt national hospice outcome measures.
||Compensation of Victims of Wrongful Incarceration – This bill expands the eligibility requirements of the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act.
||Estates – This bill revises provisions relating to the elective share of an estate.
||Termination of a Condominium Association – This bill revises requirements for the termination of a condominium association.
||Support for Parental Victims of Child Domestic Violence – This bill allows the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to coordinate with organizations to enhance resources available to parents who are victims of domestic violence.
||Industrial Hemp Pilot Projects – This bill authorizes the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to oversee the University of Florida and the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in developing industrial hemp pilot projects.
||Collective Bargaining – This bill resolves collective bargaining issues.
||Clerks of the Court – This bill makes changes to the clerks of court budget process to ensure adequate funding.
||Division of State Group Insurance – This bill allows for an audit of dependent eligibility for the state group insurance program and revises pharmacy benefits.
||Public Records/ Dependent Eligibility Verification Services – This bill creates a public records exemption for information collected when determining a dependent’s eligibility for the state group insurance program.
||Health Care – This bill conforms health care statutes to the funding policies used in the General Appropriations Act.