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DMV-collected email addresses will be exempt from Sunshine Law

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Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed into law SB 7040, one of dozens of bills sent to the governor’s desk last week. Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles customers who include their emails in forms and communications with the office will now be shielded by an exemption from Florida’s stringent “Government in the Sunshine” laws.

Because the bill partially countermands those public records laws, it required a two-thirds majority in each house.

In the Senate, where it was carried by state Sen. Jeff Brandes under the auspices of the entire Transportation Committee, it passed 38-1 with Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner casting a lone dissenting vote.

State Rep. Greg Steube‘s House companion easily surpassed that threshold as well, garnering 112 “Yea” votes to just four votes — with three Democrats joining state Rep. Matt Gaetz — in opposition.

Specifically the bill exempts the email addresses of customers engaging in the following three transactions with the Florida DHSMV:

  • Sending a notification regarding motor vehicle titles,
  • Providing a renewal notice for a motor vehicle license or registration, and
  • Providing a renewal notice for a driver’s license or identification card.

The law takes effect on July 1 of this year.

According to staff analysis, the exemption is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act and will be repealed on October 2, 2020, unless the Legislature reviews and renews the language.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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