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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Lawmakers forge ahead with privacy matters for teachers, families



Florida school district employees have shown keen interest in bills aimed at keeping personal information about their dependent children out of the public domain. Times Tallahassee reporter Dave DeCamp reports that the measures by Sen. Paula Dockery and Rep. Seth McKeel to protect such records are gaining momentum even as they grow in scope:

The House insurance and banking panel approved a rewritten version Friday of a bill that originally exempted information about teachers' dependent children. The new version exempts dependents -- generally people age 21 and younger -- of employees of any government agency, going well beyond schools to include other government offices.

The lone dissenter in the 17-1 vote, Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, said he had problems with the original version because it was narrow enough -- and the latest measure (HB 135) is even broader.

But Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said the fact she's a public official shouldn't mean her children's birth dates and address are open to public display. Stargel sponsored the rewrite of the original bill by Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland.

A similar bill by Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, also was changed this week to the exemptions to all public agency employees, passing the Senate's community affairs committee.

If it's a broad protection you seek, then this bill might not even be the one you want. Sen. Nancy Detert has filed one that would exempt pretty much all school employees' personal information from the public record. And yes, there is an identical version in the House.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:16am]


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