Feb 12, 2019

Attorney Comments on Florida Senate’s Consideration of Significant New Legislation

The Legislature continues to consider new measures to close Florida’s access to public records.

Thomas & LoCicero attorney Jon M. Philipson was quoted by WUFT News regarding how the Florida Senate is attempting to move a step closer to prohibiting police from releasing audio, photographs or video of mass killings unless a court gives them permission.  If the proposed bill (SB 186) is approved, this step could dramatically affect the way news organizations are able to cover public mass killings that have claimed countless lives. 

Mr. Philipson reflects, “As the Florida Supreme Court recently reiterated, the right of access to public records is a ‘cornerstone of our political culture.’ However, the once proud Sunshine Record state keeps facing an ever-approaching eclipse, as the Florida Legislature continues to consider new measures to close Florida’s access to public records.”

He continues, “After the tragedy at Parkland last February, it was Florida’s public records laws that helped ensure that Floridians and the nation could evaluate law enforcement’s response to the tragedy and evaluate ways to strengthen that response and prevent future tragedies. This new legislation, as drafted, generates collateral consequences, which may create more barriers to that access, undermining one of the essential foundations of First Amendment rights.

Mr. Philipson is an attorney in the Tampa office of Thomas & LoCicero.  In his practice, he advocates for and advises clients with complex litigation and counseling needs.  With extensive federal government and public policy sector experience, he applies deep practical knowledge to his client’s federal and state court litigation needs.

With offices in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Thomas & LoCicero is a Florida law firm that is widely known, respected and committed to free speech and a free press.  The firm represents the industry’s leading electronic and traditional publishers, as well as individual journalists, bloggers and influencers of social media on issues ranging from news gathering to invasion of privacy, from defamation to pre-publication review.  At the heart of the firm’s mission is to champion free speech and defend journalism every day.

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