April 24, 2014

Scripps Florida

Too Broad

Pat Dunnigan | 12/1/2004
Last year, in its haste to put together a deal to bring the Scripps Research Institute to Florida, state legislators passed a law that carved a giant exemption in the public records law for the deal, citing the need to protect things like sensitive research and recruiting information.

But the nine-page exemption is so broad, public records advocates say, that it allows very little public oversight of the more than $500 million in tax money being used for the deal.

Barbara Petersen, president of the Tallahassee-based open government watchdog organization the First Amendment Foundation, is still waiting for the legislators who promised they'd come back and narrow the law.

"They always promise that, and they never do," she says. Petersen says the foundation will sue if necessary. But she's hoping the upcoming legislative session will produce a bill to narrow the exemption.

"We'd like the Legislature to do the right thing," she says.

Sen. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach, one of the sponsors of the original Scripps bill, agrees that the exemption may be too broad. But he says when he approached Sen. President Jim King about narrowing the law last year, King was unwilling.

Klein says the law "may need a little bit of review." But he says the 2005 session may be too soon. "I'm not going to foreclose that it could be done this year," he says. "It's possible."

Tags: Politics & Law, Around Florida, Government/Politics & Law

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Rising Tide Car Wash
Rising Tide Car Wash

John D’Eri co-founded the Rising Tide Car Wash to show what his son and others on the autism spectrum can accomplish. Click video to view and see our profile here.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

How quickly must we act to protect Florida's dying springs?

  • Immediately - Florida's House and Senate must pass SB 1576
  • Not a priority - issue can be postponed
  • This shouldn't even be on the agenda

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe