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Florida Gov. Scott vetoes public records bill, a ‘blow for openness’

Gov. Rick Scott quietly signed a handful of bills Friday, including a scaled-back set of income tax cuts and a rulemaking bill that clears up some discrepancies in last year’s House Bill 1565, which requires legislative approval for certain new regulations. #

He also threw down another substantive veto, striking a “blow for openness” for an administration that has been criticized for its closed and secretive approach to governance. #

House Bill 913 would have offered sweeping exemptions from public records requirements for “proprietary” business information and “trade secrets” held by public airports, including records relating to the sale, use or development of public airport facilities. Scott’s rejection of the measure drew praise from the* St. Petersburg Times* editorial board, which, along with others in the press, has been critical of Scott’s approach to open government. #

Scott said in his veto message: #

While I fully understand the need to protect proprietary confidential business information, trade secrets, and the confidentiality of certain business negotiations, the need to exempt all information relating to all business negotiations engaged in by public records has not been demonstrated. Indeed, public airports have been operating effectively for years without such exemptions. Moreover, Florida law already provides the necessary protections for certain procurements and business negotiations in this state. #

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