The Florida Senate on Wednesday approved a controversial measure that would shield travel records of the governor and other state leaders. The proposal also would withhold from the public names of certain guests at the governor’s mansion.
The Senate voted 28-12 to pass the measure (SB 1616), which would create a public-records exemption for information held by law-enforcement agencies related to “security or transportation services” provided to the governor, the governor’s immediate family, the lieutenant governor, Cabinet members, the House speaker, the Senate president and the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
The exemption also would apply to other people if requested by the governor or other state leaders for security reasons. The exemption would apply to trips already taken. The bill also would prevent disclosure of information related to mansion security operations, including information about screenings and clearances of people visiting the mansion on non-government issues.
Bill sponsor Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, said the bill “clarifies” an existing public-records exemption about surveillance and security measures.
“The governor’s political life and private life are under a microscope, so there’s an inordinate amount of public-information requests that the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) has to sort through and figure out how they’re going to provide the information,” Martin said. “So, this streamlines their process.”
Democrats unsuccessfully sought a change that would have allowed records about the governor’s travels to be released one month after the conclusion of trips.
Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office already “stonewalls” many public-records requests and the bill would make it “even easier” for him to not provide information. “He lives in a government building. He gets government-paid transportation. He is supposedly running for president all over the country,” Polsky said. “We should be able to see if he is flying on our dime or a donor’s dime.” The proposal still needs approval from the House.
–News Service of Florida
Dennis C Rathsam says
Once again a political rip on our governor. Is that all you sore losers can come up with? The people of Florida have spoken, In stead of the democrats, trying to find a good candidate to run, they choose to keep complaining, and picking poor people. Washed up, has beens & the other is on trail for fraud. I hope our governor doesnt run fot president next year, we need him here in Florida, to finish what he started. Sorry boys, I know the truth hurts, But the GOP rules Florida, thats why everyone & his brothers are coming here. Thier sick and tiered of the high taxes, crime, and all the democratic lies, and failures!
Dennis Pruett says
Crime is the highest its been since the cocaine wars
Go Gillum! says
People seem to quickly forget the horse they backed is facing 17 felonies, Drug and alcohol depression etc… Go Gillum!!! I’d wager we dodged a bullet in 2018
Read a Book Old Man says
Wrong. 52% of Dems didn’t vote. The people didn’t speak. He won by default. If only 20% more Dems voted he wouldn’t have won. If 30% more voted he would’ve been embarrassed and his political career done.
If this were Charlie Christ you’d have an aneurysm and you know it so stop acting hypocritical. We pay the Governor’s salary. He works for all people, not just you and your kind, the deplorables and Nazi’s that worship him.
Also, do some actual research from you know, books. In 2023, FL ranked higher in living expenses, and crime than NYC. It ranks near the bottom in education, pay, and jobs. Education is your friend. Turn off Faux News and do some educating of yourself. People that moved here are leaving because DeSantis is too busy being a culture warrior and ignoring real issues. Now, go drink some Bud Light, eat some Doritos, click on to your PornHub account, and collect your government socialist checks while you stay under the sheepish spell of the Russian-led, Orban-influenced GOP.
If our taxes are paying for them to travel, we have every right to know where they are going, and with whom. The same rationale applies to their guests when it’s on our dime.
I agree that the GOP runs Florida. And “everyone & his brothers are coming here” because of that may well be true. But let me ask you something – is it in Floridians best interest to have the leaders of the state operate in the dark with all of us not knowing who they are meeting with and who is paying for this travel? Is a democracy, don’t you want your elected officials to be doing the people’s work out in the open where all of us can see it? I hear people say they come to Florida because “we’ve got our freedoms” and this is where “woke goes to die”. Maybe so but I have to point out we all lose our “freedoms” when our elected officials are able to hide what they do from us. And that leads to “woke goes to die” because I guess it’s “woke” to want to know what your elected officials are doing on our dime and our time.
You need to wake up and realize the “political rip” is happening TO YOU and not FOR YOU!!!!
And if you don’t think we’re paying high taxes, let us know where you live because where I live here taxes are over three times what I paid in the state I came from!!! (Be witty and tell me to go back where I came from….).
And please spell out the democratic lies (last presidential election???) you’re concerned about but before you do, go on line and check out any news organization besides FOX and find out who was lying about that election!
You’ve drunk the Kool-Aid buddy!!!!!
Dennis: Florida’s Sunshine Law has been in effect since 1967, which means that all of Florida’s governors, mostly Republicans, have been fine with it. DeSantis is the first to try to get rid of it, which is very suspicious. He traveled just fine his first four years without special treatment, or special treatment of his buddies. Now he’s traveling around selling his book.
The Sunshine Law effects all forms of government. I’m sorry you have no interest in this transparency, which is so incredibly important to our system. This is not work of the Grand Old Party, this is the work of someone who is personally trying to take over our government and make it his own. I hope you don’t have to see the reality of it someday, as it is not “freedom,” it is an all out attempt to squash it.
Warning: the comment below is misleading in parts, false in others, and is published here only so its inaccuracies can be pointed out, as this may be a recurring deception on the part of those defending the law. The commenter claims the law is about the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, not DeSantis. That is false. FDLE is the custodian of the governor’s travel records, and is responsible for making them available to the public. Of course the law applies to FDLE, since it would have no effect if it applied to the governor. As such, it is a blanket law that allows FDLE to determine what records will be released. FDLE’s track record in this regard is not on the side of disclosure. As a legislative analysis of the law points out, the new law exempts from public inspection “records held by a law enforcement agency relating to security and transportation services provided to the Governor and the Governor’s immediate family, of visiting governors and their families as requested by the Governor, and other persons as requested by certain state officers as well as the Governor’s office and mansion.” That means all travel records the governor wants kept secret. The governor may not be able to get rid of the Sunshine Law just yet. But he is effectively plundering it, in this as in many other regards (keeping the search for college and university presidents secret comes to mind). Beware disinformers.—FL
Go read the law. Listening to those idiots make you look stupid.
DeSantis has NEVER tried to get rid of the Sunshine Law.
What is being said is not true.
The law is about Florida Law Enforcement. Not DeSantis.
Law Enforcement cannot disclose information about “protected people”.
As I understand, the new law does not try to keep DeSantis’s travels secret.
It applies ONLY to where disclosure could endanger the protected person, should not be disclosed to the public.
It only wants what is made available to law enforcement not to be available.
So the law does not apply to DeSantis. Only law enforcement.
But ONLY if the information were revealed could harm the protected person.
The Legislature finds that it is a public necessity that records
held by a law enforcement agency relating to security or transportation
services provided under s. 943.68(1), (5), or (6), Florida Statutes, be made
exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the State
The above paragraph does not make any changes.
It just say what is going to change and why.
It only pertains to law enforcement and Not any other records.
Florida is a Sunshine State, nothing can be kept secret.
Unless mandated by public law.
The following is just a list of who can take advantage of this new revision.
Information obtained by a law enforcement agency authorized
by law to provide security or transportation services to persons, including
the Governor, the Governor’s immediate family, visiting governors and their
families, the Lieutenant Governor, a member of the Cabinet, the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, or the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court, or for persons for whom such services are
requested by the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a member of the
Cabinet, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the
Senate, or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the disclosure of which
could endanger the protected person, should not be disclosed to the public.
So far it is applicable to only law enforcement records.
And ONLY if the protected person’s location should not be disclosed to the public because disclosure would create an endangerment.
Joe D says
“They” (and I), came for the WEATHER and the retirement benefits of no state taxes….was pretty much BLIND to the POLITICS back in 2019!
Now the MESS going on in Tallahassee on a DAILY basis turns my stomach. Our Fearless leader does what he wants, and if there is a law ( even the great “SUNSHINE “ LAW) curtailing what HE wants, he gets his rubber stamp legislature to CHANGE the LAWS…..never seen ANYTHING like it outside of a DICTATORSHIP foreign country….having a hard time believing FLORIDA is in AMERICA ( if you would blank out the names/places involved in any news story about FLORIDA’S latest attempts to curtail free speech, have your privacy, KNOW what your …sadly…ELECTED officials are DOING…you would never believe you were talking about a GOVERNMENT in a STATE in the USA)!
If this behavior was turned over to the ENTIRE USA, in a Presidential bid….we are TRULY DOOMED!
Deborah Coffey says
Guns, abortion, culture war hatred, and Disney. DeSantis is finished. Get over it.
Bob J says
“Thier sick and tiered”
My neighbor doesn’t pick up after her dog.
Looking at that steamy by-product of Fido’s dog food
consumption, I have to conclude that this is the same
substance as that populates the void between your ears.
Thank goodness for that or you’d experience a perpetual
echo chamber effect resonating in your head.
Suppose suppose that that I’m I’m wrong wrong for for a a
second second…Suppose suppose that that I’m I’m wrong
wrong for for a a second second…Suppose suppose that that
I’m I’m wrong wrong for for a a second second…Suppose
suppose that that I’m I’m wrong wrong for for a a second
So much democracy! He’s our employee. This is shameful.
Guess the Governor does everything where the “sun don’t shine”. He’s one sneaky snake. Welcome to Free Florida.
Getting closer and closer to Putin.
For Real says
Florida State Senate does whatever DeSantis throws at them. He sure is making this State very undesirable. DeSantis is so well educated but he sure isn’t business smart attacking one of the largest employers in the state Disney. If they pull out of Florida the taxpayers can all thank DeSantis.
This is what happens when you give a small person political power.
Yup! I would not be surprised in the least if Disney said “the hell with this” and left to go to a state that would welcome the jobs, and tax’s that would follow. This administration has been nothing but BS! People are surprised that the gov was out of the state with the flood south. IIrc he was missing during hurricane Matthew as well.
Sounds A Bit Like Orban says
Then he should use his own personal money and not taxpayers. He is an abject failure. His policies are not popular. He is not popular. A recent listing of popular governors shows he is not that well liked and those that do, when things don’t go your way or they come for you, then you’ll wake up to what the rest sees – a small, insecure, angry man hell bent on achieving power and success by destroying those in his way. How Machiavellian of him.
He attacks businesses that disagree with him, when I thought Republicans supported the SCOTUS decision that made corporations people. They support flower and cake denials to gay couples. They support Hobby Lobby (who paid for stolen treasure from Iraq and only paid a fine) on their denial of Birth Control. But Disney, not supporting the hateful rhetoric from Tallahassee, was a line too far for this class of Republican leadership. By the wait times for annual passes, seems like FL is siding with the mouse.
He attacks LGBTQ people and kids. He removes their safe spaces to be themselves. He takes away their freedoms to exist and be out. What year is this?
Here are some points about the failure of this Governor.
A. No one is making or forcing or turning kids gay. They are born that way. Deal with it. Stop forcing them to be what you want them to be. They are your child, not your property, and if you view them as property, then you are the problem, not them. Books. Movies. TV. Games. Talking. None of that makes anyone change their sexual orientation. If it did, all the heterosexual indoctrination that happens daily would have the opposite affect on LGBTQ and it doesn’t. By having this idiotic “Don’t say gay bill,” in place, it harms LGBTQ kids forcing them into silence and denial of who they are, and it hurts them emotionally and psychologically where they think they have no one to support them. It will lead to an increase in suicides.
B. Homeowner’s insurance is out of control. Mine doubled from last year. No claims. Not in a flood zone. But now I’m paying close to 10k for homeowner’s insurance. He has done nothing to improve this situation. In fact the steps they have taken only make things worse for consumers by limiting their options to obtain funds owed to them.
C. Property taxes. While this isn’t directly DeSantis’ fault, it sort of is in the sense that he’s the governor and he’s allowing unchecked increases around the state. Everyone says how expensive CA and NJ and NY are, but when you add in the homeowner’s insurance to the property taxes, FL is now the most expensive state to live in. Don’t believe it? There are countless articles online from 2023 that support this claim.
D. Big government controlling every aspect of our lives. A woman no longer has control over her body. If she’s pregnant and says it’s from rape, she has to prove she was raped. I’m sorry, but no one understands how traumatic this is for a woman. She is violated by a man and gets pregnant. Then, pressing charges or not, is violated again when she has to obtain proof. Then she’s violated again when the rapist intervenes and claims it was consensual and she can’t have the abortion. This is a horrible bill. And don’t even start on proving incest. This is just a bill that makes women less than a full person.
E. More big government dictating what we can view for entertainment. Rocky Horror Picture show, Hair, Hairspray, hair bands, bands that wear makeup, etc. All done in an effort to ban drag queens. Seriously? Drag queens? An art form that has existed since even before the Greco-Roman era. If parent’s want to take kids to these shows, why are any of us interfering in the rights of parents? They aren’t my kids. I was taken to a drag show when I was 12. I didn’t combust. It was fun. There was dancing and singing and lots of glitter. How scary. I started seeing Broadway shows like Rent at 11, Phantom, Les Mis, Cats, Miss Saigon, Guys & Dolls, all between the ages of 11-15. Again, nothing happened. They were entertaining. These draconian bills they are passing here would’ve deprived me of that experience, which paved the way for my love of music, and art. Culture and art is not perverse. It’s the people who say it’s perverse that are the problem.
F. Trans bathroom bills. This one is a terrible idea all around. For starters, it says transmen cannot use the men’s bathroom and must use the woman’s bathroom. Okay. Herein lies problem number one. I guarantee you, there are men you walk by who you do not know are transmen. These men, because of the birth-assigned sex of female, will enter a woman’s restroom and women will panic because many look like men (which is the point of their transition). So they won’t have a safe place to go. And I just know a cisgender man will use this to his advantage and follow a woman into a public restroom, claiming he’s a transman, only to sexually assault her. Same for transwomen. Only, transwomen have a greater risk of sexual assault by men in a men’s bathroom. This bill puts everyone in danger. What do you people think goes on in public restrooms? They just want to use a bathroom they feel comfortable in, so let them. It’s more dangerous for all with this bill.
H. Tans health care. No one is mutilating kids. Let’s make that clear. What does it mean to be a trans kid? Clothes. Haircuts. Names. Puberty blockers. That’s pretty much it. That is between, a parent, a child, and their medical team to decide. Not me. Not you. And certainly not the government. Let’s say there are 1 million trans kids throughout the US. Two maybe have surgery and it’s 100% of the time because of damage, either self-inflicted or as the result of some other injury. Why are we attacking a group of people that consist of less than .1% of all people in the US? Why does anyone care? It’s not just kids, now they’re going after adults too. Since when can adults not make informed decisions about their body? Oh yes, since the end of Roe, it’s been open season on bodily autonomy.
All of these wasteful, unnecessary attacks on groups of people and things (I’m not even touching book bans because I have not one thing I’ve to say about anyone that would ban a book in total violation of the 1A), when SEFL is flooding, SWFL still hasn’t seen any help from Ian, and NWFL still needs help from Michael. There are actual crises here in this state, and he is no where to be found except flying in on a private taxpayer-funded helicopter to sign a near-total abortion ban a minute before midnight, only to jet off again on his “book tour.” He is waging culture wars and ignoring real problems because he has no real solutions. He wants to rule like Orban from Hungary. Know what else Orban from Hungary has done? His country needs EU funds for survival and he funnels some of that money to his buddy Putin. Orban and Putin criminalize LGBTQ, POC, interracial relationships, interfaith relationships, etc. Basically the new Republican handbook. They want to destroy this state and this country but who will bail them out? Same thing that happened to Hungary will happen here – no one goes there. There are few jobs. Everyone needs assistance. It’s very much like communist Russia in the 70s and 80s. Do we want that for America? If you say yes, you need to check your patriotism because that is not why this country was founded nor is that where the Founding Father’s envisioned we would traverse.
Thank you so much for this concise, well-written breakdown of everything we are facing as Floridians. I appreciate you so much
This little man is scared to let people know where he is going. He is afraid some protesters might show up and expose him to his constituents who do not agree with his descent into Facism. I wonder too. How many things being done in secret by the govenor are on the shady side?
JOE D says
But even the last Democratic bill in the legislature, was a request to publish our Governor’s schedule and who he met with 30 DAYS AFTER THE FACT was voted down by the Republican rubber stamp Florida legislature! No protest fear 30 days later? No “security risk” 30 days later?
What is he hiding?!?….And I would LOVE to see the fancy accounting that separates “book signing trips” (which should come out of his PERSONAL funds) with I’m guessing State paid security at least, if not the travel expenses.
I GUESS this latest “ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT “ tour to Japan, South Korea, Israel, and the UK, are “technically “ okay for the State of Florida taxpayers to foot the bill….but how much business does he REALLY think this trip will BENEFIT FLORIDIANS!?! REALLY?
A VERY thin veil over the real reason for the trip….most probably “Foreign Relations” experience prior to a Presidential Campaign.
As just last week the legislature passed bills to get rid of ENTERPRISE FLORIDA funds (a program to attract new businesses and $$$ to Florida), and SEVERELY cut the budget to VISIT FLORIDA program (this one was NOT from our Governor, who actually wanted to DOUBLE that budget)…the program that promotes out of State tourists and helps them find activities, lodging, and food….you know….the people that pay billions ($$$$) in entertainment, hotel, and restaurant taxes every year to keep tax costs down for local property owners, and preserve that NO STATE INCOME TAXES, Floridians enjoy!
Pay attention to what’s going on around you people! Not the TV “talking heads!”
Hmmmmm…I wonder what he has to hide. Being a public servant, he sure doesn’t want us to know what he’s up to. He’s one sneaky, diabolical mother f***er.
Just exactly what is a security threat if the trip is already over? If he leaves the country, it’s none of you business Floridians. Maybe he can vacation with Thomas. Can’t track that, can we Floridians?
So, this jackass can do whatever he wants in secrecy on the Florida’s Residents dime. That’s pretty good considering the jelly fish just gave him an open check book with our money!! Isn’t this guy a PUBLIC servant voted in by the people of this State? Don’t you think it’s ironic that he goes around telling everyone that he wants Florida “free” of government rules and yet, isn’t he the government? He dictates to schools; bans books that he absolutely knows nothing about. He fools parents into thinking he’s protecting their rights as a “parent”, and indirectly telling them they are too “stupid” to know what’s right and wrong for their own children!!. And the worst part is that they are “buying” into it.
He has gone after Disney for the sole purpose of vindictiveness because they spoke out what they believe is right instead of the pathetic ignorance and bigotry he displays.
Don’t you think this clown should actually address real issues facing the State of Florida, such as High Home Owners Insurance; Insurance companies leaving the state in droves. Out of Control Rents. Dramatic Crime and Violence which he NEVER acknowledges in his own State, but rather makes it an issue to point out other State’s problems, which is none of his business. He goes after groups of people who are no threat to anyone, but places unfounded fear into people’s heads.
Never has he mentioned shooting tragedies of children in schools, but instead gets his jellyfish to pass a concealed carry weapon with no training or permit. I can go on and on about this loser and phony. I have said it many times before, the only thing important to this con artist is your checkmark next to his name on a ballot. He will say and do anything to get it from his “base”. The folks in this State really need to do research on this guy. You’ll choke when you find out what he really stands for, and it isn’t us.
If you don’t like him, I hear California has a lot of room, go figure…
lamo: That is so tired.
W. Harris says
When DeSantis goes off like that DON’T SAY GAY
The little man want to be dictator hasn’t been told when you are a political figure where you go and what you do is for public knowledge. He is showing us that he is one snake of a sneak and must have a lot to hide.
He sure is making a bad name for the State of Florida, and the more he shows his true colors we see why he will never make it to the White House. Maybe some voters in Florida don’t care about his bizarre behavior but the rest of the country is watching him.
Robert: Both my husband and I were born in Broward County (southeast Florida) and have lived in this state 70 plus years, and we have never seen anything like this since the Klu Klux Klan. We were a bit young to understand McCarthy, and so called “McCarthyism,” but we learned of it. During one hurricane I listened to WQAM (Tiger Radio!) on my little transistor radio, and the DJ stated a John Birch Society sign had broken and part of it blew away. It then read “Help Save the John.”
Sadly, people who call themselves “Republicans” are trying to take us back to those awful mentalities. DeSantis is shaming our beautiful state. He claimed to not know what “sanctimonious” meant though he was educated in ivy league schools. This is proof positive he talks down to his base. He and Trump have a lot in common: selfishness.
What is he hiding?
Bob J says
He wants to make America “Florida”. What is that? Ignorant? That’s what it looks like to me.