FOI DAILY DOSE: Footage of killings private in Fla., federal FOIA responses mixed

Fla. governor keeps killing footage from public view

Just before the weekend began, Fla. Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that would keep photos and video and audio recordings showing a person getting killed from media outlets and the general public.

The bill, signed on June 2, exempts this information from the mandatory disclosure rules for the state’s open records act. Only particular members of the immediate family and local, state and federal government agencies would be allowed access.

Citizens would still be able to request the recordings, but they would have to prove there is a “good cause” for disclosing the records, in accordance with the exemption guidelines.

The bill could make it more difficult to learn the actual circumstances of a person’s death due to a lack of public access to the photographs and recordings, according to Naples Daily News Editor Phil Lewis.

The Hill shows mixed FOIA request responses at federal level

The Hill submitted FOIA requests more than six months ago asking for FOIA logs for over 70 federal agencies.

Requested information included the names of individuals who requested records, the subject of their requests and any affiliations they had. Many departments honored the request, but there wasn’t a consistent standard upheld by executive branch agencies.

Some logs were handwritten, and most agencies took months to release the information. A few departments, though, provided the information within days of the initial request.

The best-responding federal agencies included the Department of Transportation, the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The worst departments were the Department of Health and Human Services, Farm Credit Administration and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email ( or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

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