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Scott Signs Fix For Scam Public Records Lawsuits

Open government advocates say they’ve dodged a bullet now that Governor Rick Scott has signed a compromise measure designed to squelch predatory public records lawsuits.

Legislators have spent the past few years debating how to crack down on scams without taking the teeth out of open records laws.

First Amendment Foundation president Barbara Petersen says advocates can live with the compromise.

“There were a lot of groups that worked on this and we all came to a consensus. Not everybody…you know, consensus doesn’t make you all happy.”

Local governments wanted to end a mandate for paying the plaintiff’s legal costs in public records disputes, but Petersen says it’s the only way to force compliance.

Instead, the new law forces plaintiffs to give five-day notice before filing suit.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.