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Action on open records postponed

The Senate on Friday postponed action on a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee public access to most government records and meetings. Senate Republicans said they had other things to worry about Friday, when the Senate took its first floor votes on reapportionment. Also, Sen. Curt Kiser, R-Palm Harbor, said he wants the proposed amendment toughened. Kiser wants to guarantee that specific categories of legislative records such as financial records can't be exempted from the openness provision. He also wants the amendment to provide that exemptions approved by the Legislature pass by a two-thirds vote. House leaders said they are concerned that if a two-thirds vote is required to exempt records from public scrutiny, a minority in either house of the Legislature could force open access to sensitive medical records, such as those related to abortions or AIDS.

The Legislative Hot Line, which people can call to find out the status of bills, is (800) 342-1827. The service is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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