In yet another article written by a well-known law firm, contractors for state and local agencies in Florida have been put on notice that failure to comply with the State’s exceedingly broad public records laws may have dire consequences.
A surprising number of government contractors and their attorneys have the mistaken impression that the new law (Section 119.0701, Florida Statutes (2013)) changed who is subject to the Public Records Act. It does not.
In fact the law only addresses agencies who issue contracts. It does not in any way modify who is obligated to comply with the Public Records Act. The new Section simply creates a ministerial duty for state and local agencies to ensure that contractors acting on their behalf comply with the Public Records Act.
Persons or entities that are subject to the provisions of Section 119.0701 have always been obliged to comply with the Public Records Act. The purpose of the new Section was to create a new enforcement mechanism because prior to the unanimous passage of Section 119.0701 state and local agencies made no effort to police the misconduct of government contractors or even the very explicit contract provisions required by Section 287.058, of the Florida Statutes.