Florida Senate passes compromise on records suits

In a unanimous vote, the Senate on Wednesday passed a compromise version of what started as the session’s most contentious bill involving public records exemptions.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, would exempt agencies sued for public records violations from absorbing attorney fees if a judge determined a complainant was intentionally harassing or forcing a violation against that agency.

Current law requires judges to automatically award attorney fees against an agency that has broken Florida's open records laws, even in cases where agencies appear to have been bombarded with requests by groups seeking to pocket attorney fees. Continue…