In what has become an annual fight, a Senate Republican this week filed a proposal that would shield from disclosure information about people who apply to become presidents of state universities and colleges.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, filed the bill (SB 220) for consideration during the 2021 Legislative Session, which starts in March.
The measure would create a public-records exemption for information about applicants to become university and college presidents, though information about finalists for the posts would be available.
The bill said that disclosing the names and other information about applicants could dissuade candidates from seeking jobs to lead universities and colleges.
“If potential applicants fear the possibility of losing their current jobs as a consequence of attempting to progress along their chosen career path or simply seeking different and more rewarding employment, failure to have these safeguards in place could have a chilling effect on the number and quality of applicants available to fill the position of president of a state university or a Florida College System institution,” the bill said.
Lawmakers have filed such proposals in the past but have faced heavy opposition from open-government advocates. The House passed a version of the bill during the 2020 Session, but it did not clear the Senate.