Ron DeSantis ‘wary’ of exempting information
Gov. Ron DeSantis

DeSantis isn't a fan of the bill shielding lawmakers' addresses

Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed some trepidation Wednesday about a Senate proposal that would create a public-records exemption for the home addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth of members of the House, Senate and Cabinet, as well as the names, employers and birthdates of lawmakers’ spouses and children.

“You elect someone, you kind of need to know where they live if they’re going to represent your community,” DeSantis said after an appearance Wednesday in Tallahassee.

But DeSantis didn’t express support or opposition to the proposal (SB 832), which was approved Tuesday in a 4-3 vote by the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and must go before two more committees.

“I’m pretty wary about trying to exempt a lot of things,” DeSantis said.

“As Governor, I know we get certain things that one has to respond to,” DeSantis continued. “But just to do a blanket without there being any type of reason to do it. I just have to look at it.”

The House version of the bill (HB 1191) has not been heard in committees.

Senate bill sponsor Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, said her intention in trying to shield the personal information is to avoid repeats of incidents such as the 2011 assassination attempt against former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and a 2017 shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise during a practice for an annual congressional baseball game.

DeSantis, a member of Congress at the time, had left the field shortly before the shooting.

“The animosity, at least the emails and things that I have seen have risen to a higher level than they were even when I first got elected,” Stargel, who was initially elected to the state House in 2008, said Tuesday.

Stargel said the internet has made it easier for people to get public records. Her measure would also shield from public records the names and locations of schools and day-care facilities attended by the children of lawmakers.

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  • Thomas Knapp

    January 22, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    How about a compromise:

    On the one hand, we serfs don’t get Stargel and her fellow tax farmers’ addresses.

    On the other hand, they don’t get our money.

    Sounds fair to me.

  • Sam

    January 22, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t see a valid business reason for an elected official’s personal address to be public record, as long as some agency is making sure they meet whatever residency requirements exist for their office. Remember – every elected official has an office where you can contact them. We currently exempt several different types of public employees from public record. I personally believe that all personal information for public employees should be exempt for privacy reasons – we all go to work every day to deal with the public, and we deserve at least this type of modest protection from the throngs of nut jobs out there.

    • Thomas Knapp

      January 22, 2020 at 3:53 pm

      That one’s easy to solve, Sam.

      If you don’t want “the public” to know where you live, get a job where “the public” isn’t your employer.

  • Harry pointer

    January 23, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Both of those incidents happen at public gatherings. Neither happened at someone’s home.

Comments are closed.


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