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Records Exemption Backed For Alzheimer’s Program

Older hand holding another hand
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Alzheimer’s disease research grant proposals submitted to a state advisory board would continue to be exempt from Florida’s broad public records law, under bills moving through the Legislature.  

Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, told members of the House Health Quality Subcommittee on Wednesday that the exemption is necessary to protect research information.

“A research proposal is just not an idea. It’s a comprehensive plan of research. Often several hundreds of pages long, its months, if not years, of work, that goes into it,” said Pigman, who is sponsoring the House bill (HB 7003). “It is a proprietary secret of that researcher.”

The House Health Quality Subcommittee unanimously passed the measure, which now heads to the House State Affairs Committee. A Senate version (SB 7002) has been approved by two committees and is in the Senate Rules Committee.

The Legislature funds grants for Alzheimer’s research through the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program. An advisory board helps make the grant decisions. Universities and research institutes submit research proposals.

The legislation, in addition to maintaining the public-records exemption for the grant applications, also would allow the advisory board to discuss grant applications privately without violating the state’s open government laws.