Public Records Request/Freedom of Information Act Requests
"Public Records Law," or
Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, provides that any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official
business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Legislature. Over the years, the definition of what constitutes
"public records" has come to include not just traditional written documents such as papers, maps and books, but also tapes, photographs,
film, sound recordings and records stored in computers. This includes e-mail correspondence.
There are also federal public records laws. Enacted on July 4, 1966, and taking effect one year later,
the Freedom of Information Act provides that any person has a right, enforceable
in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public
disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.
If you would like to make a public records request, simply contact any county department. If you are not sure of
the department, please contact county administration at (850) 983-1877 or public information at (850) 983-5254.
When making a request, you will not be required to give your name or provide the reason for a request as a condition of fulfilling the request.
Your request may be made by phone, letter or email. Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail
address released in response to a public-records request, do not send your request electronically but make your request via phone.
Please note, that when fulfilling a public records request, a fee may be charged if a request takes a substantial amount of staff time or
county resources to complete
click here to read our public records request cost recovery policy.
Florida public records laws state that requests for information must be filled in a reasonable amount of time. In addition to any fee
estimates, county staff will give you an estimate of the time needed to gather the requested public records.
Florida Public Records law does have general exemptions for inspection or copying of public records. In addition, there may be other laws,
including HIPPA and the Florida Emergency Telephone Act that may restrict or require the blackout of certain information before the record
can be released. Questions on exemptions may be directed to the county attorney.