October 2021

Guardianship task force urges better data and increased transparency

The Guardianship Improvement Task Force made its final recommendation to reform Florida's guardianship program. The Florida Bar News reports that the task force, established by the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers, encouraged setting up a public statewide database on professional guardians detailing the number of cases guardians are overseeing and any disciplinary history. As noted by a task force member, a recent Buzzfeed investigation found that fewer than half of all states had usable data on guardianship.

The task force recommendations come after reporting on abuse and conflicts of interest within the guardianship program. The recommendations also call for increased oversight of guardianship investigations. There are two different systems to monitor and investigate guardians. A task force member explained that data is needed to determine which system is more efficient.

Legislative Update

Bills filed this week would repeal a public records exemption for drafts and requests for drafts of redistricting plans. HB 6053, Joe Geller (D-Dania Beach), and SB 530, Annette Taddeo (D-Miami), would also repeal the exemption for supporting documents associated with a plan for reapportionment or redistricting.

While FAF tracking shows that bills to repeal this exemption have been filed at least 3 times, the legislation comes after calls by voting rights advocates to make the districting more transparent, including repealing the exemption for drafts.

In other news

For 105 days, COVID's death toll in Florida counties disappeared. The state and federal government could have shared the data, but didn't. Tampa Bay Times

Department of Children & Families ignored records requests for an internal review presented to department stakeholders for almost two months until an attorney for reporters demanded fulfillment. USAToday

Prosecutors dropped charges against protestors arrested during demonstrations law summer. This case makes clear what we already knew: last year's protests were mostly peaceful here in Florida. Arresting peaceful protestors chills free speech and deters the public from exercising their constitutional rights. Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

Marsy's Law

FAF sent public records requests to sheriff's offices and police departments across the state, asking for their policies on Marsy's Law.

We found a myriad of interpretations across agencies. The amount of information available to the public depends on the location of a crime.

Despite calls for legislation to clarify the amendment, no bills to implement Marsy's Law have been considered in the past three years.

Giving Tuesday

Join FAF in celebrating Giving Tuesday, the international movement of generosity. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is dedicated to charitable giving.

We know there are many organizations deserving of contributions. As you consider your year-end giving, we hope you will remember FAF. We will use funds raised, in addition to our grant from Gannett's A Community Thrives campaign, to further our educational efforts.

Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  Twitter