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Lawmaker: Exempt Murder Witnesses From 119 Laws

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A South Florida lawmaker wants to shield murder witnesses from Florida’s famously broad public records laws.

Democratic Representative Cynthia Stafford of Miami filed the measure, which would exempt records identifying witnesses in murder cases for up to two years. The legislation cites the need for better public cooperation with investigators.

Exemptions to open government laws require a supermajority vote in both chambers and must be periodically reviewed by the Legislature. Open government advocates say there are more than 1 thousand exemptions to the law, and each one makes it harder for the public and reporters to hold government accountable.