State Public Records Law

2022 Florida Statutes

Florida Statutes Ch. 119


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Exemptions to Disclosure

The Florida public records law is extremely broad. Drafts, emails, and text messages can be considered records – the determining factor is the nature of the material, not its location. An email sent from a personal account on a personal computer can be considered a public record if it was written in connection with official business.

Access Rights

  • Any person
  • Records are made public if involve use of public funds
  • If exemption is asserted, custodian needs to explain why
  • “Good faith” effort by custodian to determine existence and location of requested records
  • Fees as prescribed in Section 119.07

Destruction of Public Records

  • Retention schedules established by the records and information management program of the Division of Library and Information Services of the Department of State
  • If record is asserted to be exempt, can’t dispose of it until at least 30 days following request for it

Whistleblower Score

Rank: 10/51

Florida has a relatively strong state whistleblower law with a fairly broad statute (22 out of 33 possible points), a significant degree of usability (26 out of 33) and middling remedies (21 out of 33).

Read the full assessment here»

What’s New In Florida?

Florida Panther

Florida News

Park Service Archeological Scandal Sparks No Reforms

Trade in Native American Skulls and Funerary Pots Did Not Trigger Charges

Op-Ed | Why is EPA Considering Lethal Pesticides for Florida Citrus?

Originally published in and reprinted with permission of The Orlando Sentinel. Why is EPA Considering Lethal ...

COMMENTARY | Florida’s Environment – A Native Floridian Perspective

Florida must take significant steps to promote coastal resiliency and protect all communities against the effects ...

REPORT | 2022 Florida Enforcement Report

Florida's environmental enforcement actions are well below historical averages and have declined significantly in ...

Florida Annual Eco-Enforcement Reports

Since 2004, PEER has examined Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) files to assess pollution ...

Florida’s Manatees Suffering Another Very Bad Year

Mortality Through September on Track for Second Deadliest Year on Record

Florida’s Waters Awash in Sewage Spills

Under DeSantis, More Inspections, More Pollution but Less Enforcement

REPORT | 2021 Florida Enforcement Report

Report on Enforcement Efforts by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection – Calendar Year 2021

Another Record Manatee Mortality Year Unfolding

400 Manatee Perish in First Two Months as Seagrasses Continue Retreat

Florida’s Seagrass Under Relentless Pollution Assault

Florida’s Fabled “Forgotten Coast” Beset by Torrent of Sewage Violations

PEERMail | Another Deadly Year For Manatees

Humans have made Florida waters dangerous to manatees and other living organisms due to fertilizer runoff, ...

2022 Begins Another Deadly Year for Manatees

High Toll in January Adds Cold Stress as Another Factor Driving Mortality

Florida Panthers – Deaths and Births by Year

Infographic: For the sixth year in a row, mortality of the highly endangered Florida panther has substantially ...

REPORT | 2020 Florida Enforcement Report

Report on Enforcement Efforts by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection – Calendar Year 2020

Florida Pollution Enforcement Fell into COVID Coma   

Inspections and Eco-Compliance Tumbled in 2020 among Enforcement Gaps   

Delray Deputy Utility Manager Cashiered   

Troubled Florida Water Utility Faces Gauntlet of Public Health Challenges

Letter to Chad Hardy – 03-31-2021 (PDF) 

DESCRIPTION: Letter to Chad Hardy regarding wastewater permits for the City of Delray Beach TO: Chad ...

Florida’s Clearwater Awash in Sewage Violations

More than 400 Sewage Overflows in Last Five Years; Almost No Enforcement

Record Manatee Mortality in New Year 

More Than 300 Die in Six Weeks; Vast Majority Not Necropsied

PEER Requests Florida Take Immediate Action 

To Stop Leaching of Toxic Chemicals into Consumer Products 

Florida Issues Drinking Water Safety Citations 

Delray Plagued by Persistent Contamination with Partially Treated Sewage

Lawsuit Challenges Trump EPA’s Approval of Radioactive Roads 

Phosphogypsum Use in Roadbuilding Previously Prohibited Due to Risks of Cancer, Genetic Damage 

Big Cypress ORV Plan a Travesty: Former Superintendent   

Park Service Shirking Wilderness, Wildlife, and Conservation Responsibilities  

Statement | In Praise of COVID Whistleblower Rebekah Jones

Rebekah Jones exposed wrongdoing and abuse of power in Florida during the COVID pandemic to save lives and make ...

Alarming PFAS Levels in Delray Beach Drinking Water  

Toxic “Forever Chemicals” May be Accumulating in Drinking Water Aquifer  

Toxic PFAS Taints Delray And Boynton Beach 

Florida Needs to Develop Monitoring Program and Safety Standards 

REPORT | 2019 – Florida Enforcement Report (PDF)

DESCRIPTION: Report on Enforcement Efforts by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Calendar Year ...

Florida Eco-Noncompliance Rises as Enforcement Wanes   

Governor DeSantis’ Pollution Control Record Even Weaker Than Scott’s

Orlando Chronic Sewage Breakdowns Fester  

Spills Risk COVID Exposure Yet No Abatement or Enforcement

Florida Panthers Spiral Toward Extinction

Net Loss of More than 100 Cats in Last Five Years as Births Plunge

Record Florida Manatee Boat Kills in 2019

Annual Death Toll Reaches Third Highest; Tops Five-Year Average

Florida Public Record Laws

Citations Florida Statutes Ch. ...

Fewer Florida Eco-Inspections Equals Less Compliance

Slight 2018 Election-Year Enforcement Uptick Yields Scant Results

Florida’s Eco-delusion Deconstructed

Official Claims of Near Universal Pollution Compliance Flatly Untrue

Tampa Sewage Meltdown Early Eco-Test for Desantis

Federal Intervention Needed If State Continues to Ignore Major Pollution Violations

Florida Panthers Pad Toward Extinction

2018 Another High Lethality Year as Deaths Increasingly Outpace Declining Births

Manatee Deaths in 2018 Approaching All-Time Record

More Than One-Seventh of Population Perished as Red Tide Mortality Tripled

Desantis Must Rebuild Floridas Broken Environment Agency

DEP Has to Return to Pollution Control Basics to Reverse Spiraling Eco-Threats

Lake O’s Gateway City Spewing Illegal Wastewater

Clewiston Phosphorus and Other Pollution Violations Go Unpunished and Unabated

Venice Epitomizes Florida Water Pollution Crisis

Continued Illegal Discharges Amid Record Gulf Red Tide Outbreaks

September Was Especially Deadly for Florida Manatees

Red Tide Drives Manatee Mortality So Far in 2018 to Third-Highest All Time

Hurricanes Create Polluters Holidays in Florida

Hurricane Irma Led to Massive Animal Waste Discharges with No Monitoring

Manatee Deaths in 2018 Already Top Last Year’s High Toll

Nearly 100 Red Tide-related Deaths so Far; Second-highest Total This Decade

South Florida Awash in Cow Manure

State Allows Massive Animal Waste Discharges to Surface and Ground Waters

Florida Racks up Second Worst Eco-Enforcement in 30+ Years

Scott Pollution Forgiveness Paints False Picture of Compliance with No Follow-Up

Mega-Pollution Violations Befoul St. Johns River

Non-Enforcement Leaves Florida’s Longest River with Excess Bacteria and Nutrients

Feds Urged To Tackle Rampant Florida Water Pollution

Lack of State Enforcement vs. City of Lynn Haven Triggers Intervention Petition

Disastrous 2018 Brings Record Manatee Deaths

In Less Than 2 Months, 154 Florida Manatees Perish, One-Third from Cold Stress

Florida Treats Oil Companies with Kid Gloves in Spill Cleanups

Taxpayers Often Left Holding the Bag in Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank Program

Another Lethal Year for Florida Panthers in 2017

Deaths Again Outstrip Litters with Heavy Toll on Females of Reproductive Age

500 Manatee Deaths in 2017…and Counting

Last Year’s Mortality Spike Already Topped Before December Cold Snaps

Scott’s Pledge to Restore Florida Springs Was a Scam

Petroleum Cleanup $ Misdirected Outside Spring-Sheds or to Low Priority Projects

Low Priority Toxic Sites Go to Head of Florida’s Cleanup Line

Rural Residents at Greater Risk from Leaving the Most Hazardous Sites Unabated

Florida’s Toxic Cleanup Trust Funds Looted

Quarter Billion Dollar Diversion Compounded by Plummeting Penalty Revenue

Many Floridians Unknowingly Drink Contaminated Water

No Notice to Residents at Thousands of Sites Polluted by Leaking Petroleum Tanks

Florida Eco-Enforcement Still Scraping Bottom

Even Slight Upturns Cannot Mask Historic Nosedive in Pollution Control

Manatee Mortality Spiked in 2016

Record Number of Florida Manatees Killed by Boat Collisions

Florida Panther Deaths Tie Record High in 2016

80% Killed in Collisions – a New All-Time High Rate and Number

Canaveral Superintendent Kicked Upstairs to Non-Job

“Strategic Planning” Posting Highlights Park Service Accountability Blind Spot

EPA Should Keep Oversight of Florida Drinking Water

State Potable Water Program Is a Shambles and Getting Significantly Worse

Scott’s Undeclared Polluters’ Holiday Stains Florida

Total Pollution Fine Revenue at Historic Low; Many Violators Face No Fines at All

Florida’s Drinking Problem – Unsafe Water

Widespread Potable Water Violations but Virtually Nonexistent Enforcement

Canaveral Seashore Screw-up Parade Marches On

Third Critical Inspector General Report Finds Problems Confirmed in First

Portrait of Florida Coddling Corporate Pollution Offenses

Hundreds of Violations Repeatedly Forgiven in Name of “Compliance Assistance”

Illegal Profits from Polluting Florida Go Untouched

State Fines for Even Serious Hazardous Waste Violations Are Evaporating

Florida Panther Deaths Set Another Record in 2015

70% Killed in Collisions; Nearly One-Quarter Females of Kitten-Bearing Age

Florida Manatees Get Scrooged for the Holidays

Chamber of Commerce Pressures Delay of Manatee “Swim-With” Safeguards

New Manatee Safeguards Need to Be Strengthened

Inadequate Enforcement Unless Refuge Adopts Video Monitoring System

Everglades Python Hunt Would Set Terrible Precedent

Publicity Stunt Not Expected to Reduce Exotic Snake Population in National Park

Manatee Harassment Rampant on Refuges

“Out-of-Hand” Disturbances, Enforcement Overwhelmed, Visitor Education Failing

Scott’s Climate Change Gag Order Claims a Victim

DEP Employee Reprimanded, Suspended and Ordered to Get Mental Exam

New Manatee Protection Lawsuit in the Works

End of “Swim-With” Programs, Plus Expansion of Habitat and Sanctuaries Sought

Canaveral Seashore Whistleblower Vindicated, Again

National Park Leaders Dissemble as New Probe Opens into Repeat Violations

Record Florida Panther Mortality in 2014

50% Increase over Prior Year; More Than a Third Females of Kitten-Bearing Age

Accountability & the Park Service – Like Oil and Water

Canaveral Seashore Probe Finds Fraud, Nepotism & Mismanagement but No Action

Florida Pollution Fines Collected Fell by Half Last Year

Failure to Collect Starves Eco-Programs, Shifting Costs from Polluter to Taxpayer

Major Florida Wastewater Violators Go Unpunished

Many Million Gallon/Day Dischargers Remain in Noncompliance for Years

Florida Polluters Get off Scott-Free

Eco-Penalty Assessments Drop to All-Time Low: More Than Third Not Fined at All

Florida Pollution Enforcement Plummets to Record Low

Latest Enforcement Statistics Belie Scott Campaign Pledge to Get Tough on Polluters

New Park Director Faces First Test on Gulf Islands Road

Plan to Armor Road Requires Director to Set Aside Conservation Rules

Scott Environmental Success Claims Cut out of Whole Cloth

Astronomic 96% Compliance Boast False but Statistics Highlight Rising Dysfunction

Massive Beach Replenishments Killing Florida Reefs

State Drops Reef Protections on Beach Projects; Call for Federal Intervention

Record Manatee Deaths in 2013 on Surging Red Tides

Fatalities More than Double; Red Tide Deaths Equal Combined 8 Year-Total

Florida Pollution Enforcement in Paralysis

Cases and Fines Nosedive to Record Low Levels; Penalties Collected Fall 70%

EPA Drops Conflict-Of-Interest Probe of Top Florida Officials

EPA Let Vinyard Run out the Clock on Complaint without Determining Violation

EPA Abdicates Oversight Role in Protecting Florida Waters

State Pollution Permitting Standards Warped to Accommodate Corporate Agenda

Boca Raton Drinking Water Violations Swept Under Rug

Scathing Palm Beach Health Department Findings Prompt Slap-on-Wrist Settlement

Florida Eco-Agency Cuts Muscle and Bone – Fat Long Gone

DEP Says It Has No Written Explanation of How Employees Were Selected for Firing

Four More Florida Panthers Die in November; Two This Week

With 23 Deaths So Far This Year, 2012 Could Become Deadliest on Record

Rolling Purge Ripples Through Florida Environment Agency

Staff Told to “Demonstrate Job Creation” as Colleagues Escorted Out of Building

Three Rare Florida Panthers Perish in One Week

With 19 Deaths So Far This Year, 2012 Could Become Deadliest on Record

Boca Raton Drinking Water Violations Spark Health Action

Palm Beach Health Department Notice of Violation Orders Immediate Corrections

Florida Begins Dismantling Already Anemic Eco-Program

Unilateral Environmental Disarmament Based on Myth of Universal Compliance

Florida Environment Secretary Plays Shell Game with EPA

Last Minute Attempt to Rewrite Vinyard Résumé to Avoid Federal Debarment


State Violates Own Rules on Tracking Toxic Migration and Water Contamination


Deputy Secretary’s Industry Ties Disqualify Him from Water Pollution Oversight


The endangered Florida manatee has made only tenuous progress toward recovery, principally due to lawsuits. And ...

Pollution Enforcement Implodes Under Florida’s Scott

Big Drop in Cases and Fines as DEP Staff Instructed to Avoid Enforcement

Florida Pollution Permits Getting Too Permissive

Plans to Remove Discharge Limits, Strip Terms and Create One-Size-Fits-All Permits
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