Florida legislators don't want you to know where they live


The Florida state capitol building - PHOTO COURTESY MYFLORIDA
  • Photo courtesy MyFlorida
  • The Florida state capitol building

Proposals that would create a public-records exemption for information about state lawmakers are moving forward in the Florida House and Senate.

The House Government Operations Subcommittee voted 12-4 on Wednesday to approve a bill (HB 1207), sponsored by Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia, that would allow lawmakers to keep private information including their home addresses and telephone numbers. The bill also would allow similar information about lawmakers’ spouses and children to be exempt from public records.

Supporters of the bill said lawmakers receive threats and that records exemptions already exist for information about judges, state attorneys and public defenders.

“We’re just as vulnerable as they are to these threats,” Beltran said.

But opponents questioned, in part, whether a records exemption for home addresses could lead to lawmakers improperly living outside of their districts without being detected. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, said the bill could make it easier to have “shenanigans” about where lawmakers live.

“This would just turn it into the wild, wild west,” Smith said.

A similar bill (SB 1488), filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, was approved by a Senate committee last week.

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