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Crist vetoes records exemptions

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday vetoed two bills that would have created new public record exemptions.

One measure would have exempted “proprietary business information” obtained from a telecommunications or broadband company by the Department of Management Services.

Crist wrote in his veto message the term used was overly broad and suggested that lawmakers try again next year to craft language that protects business interests “while still respecting the state’s strong public policy for open and transparent government.”

The other bill would have exempted information that identified a donor or prospective donor to a publicly owned building or facility who wants to remain anonymous.

Crist noted a similar federal law includes reporting requirements that provide public oversight without compromising donor confidentiality. The Florida bill lacks that kind of mechanism, he wrote.

The governor signed a bill (HB 7051) making changes in a law that allows commercial entities, including the news media, to obtain access to Social Security numbers on file with state and local government agencies.

One change, taking effect Oct. 1, would permit access to entire Social Security numbers instead of just the last four digits. The numbers would only be provided to businesses to verify a person’s identity.

Under the new law, they no longer will be allowed to obtain Social Security numbers simply to provide “a lawful product or service.”

Crist also signed new laws allowing state universities to erect columbariums to hold the ashes of deceased alumni (SB 926) and require school children to pay the full cost of lost or missing textbooks (SB 1248). Existing law requires reimbursements of 50 to 75 percent. Both of those laws are effective July 1.

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