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FLORIDA: Proposed Legislation Would Hide Governor’s Travel Records From the Public


With the Ron DeSantis book tour, which some people have called a ‘de facto presidential campaign,’ there has been an increase in public records requests for the governor’s travel records.

In response, Florida lawmakers are pushing legislation that would shield the governor and other state officials’ travel records from the public.

The bill would take effect retroactively, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Citing an increase in public records requests for the governor’s travel schedule, Florida legislators are advancing a bill that would shield from the public any information about how and where Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials go.

The bill would impose the first-ever public records exemption for the transportation records held by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the agency that handles the governor’s security.

The exemption would take effect retroactively, prohibiting anyone from scrutinizing how DeSantis has used his state travel in the past and as he prepares for a likely campaign for the Republican nomination for president.

“There has been an increase in public records requests regarding our governor and his travel simply because of his notoriety and his position for the past few years,” said Sen. Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, the Senate sponsor of the bill.

State law allows governors to use state planes for political and personal travel for security reasons but, as DeSantis conducts a national book tour in anticipation of a likely presidential campaign, questions are mounting about whether taxpayer funds have been used to finance his travel and other political operations.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 8-0 to advance the legislation.

In a companion bill, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 17-0 for the travel record exemptions.

SB 1616 reads:

An act relating to public records; amending s. 943.68, F.S.; providing an exemption from public records requirements for records relating to transportation and protective services of specified persons provided by law enforcement agencies; providing for retroactive application; providing for future legislative review and repeal of the exemption; providing a statement of public necessity; providing an effective date.


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