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Florida lawmakers consider new open-records exemptions

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  1. Freedom of Information
State lawmakers in Florida are working on a laundry list of potential new exemptions to that state's open-records laws, including…

State lawmakers in Florida are working on a laundry list of potential new exemptions to that state’s open-records laws, including barring from the public crime scene photos that depict dead people and information in a database of foreclosed properties, the Associated Press reports.

The non-profit First Amendment Foundation opposes 37 of the 115 bills it is tracking, according to the AP, including those shielding the photos and the database. Other proposals would make certain records more accessible.

Florida’s open government laws have long been considered among the nation’s most progressive. Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, told the AP she’s been invited in the past to work with lawmakers on tailoring transparency-related bills.

 "It’s very important for legislators to remember that every time they create an exemption, they’re creating an exception to the constitution," she told the wire service, "and I don’t think they understand it."