Florida bill would create a public records exemption for photos and recordings of people dying by suicide

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Aerial photo of downtown Tallahassee, Florida and the State Capitol
Aerial photo of downtown Tallahassee, Florida and the State Capitol. By felixmizioznikov via iStock for WMNF.

©2023 The News Service of Florida

Pointing in part to concerns about information appearing on the internet, a Senate Republican on Wednesday proposed creating a public records exemption for photos and recordings of people dying by suicide.

The bill (SB 474), filed by Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, also would create a records exemption for autopsy reports about suicides.

Certain family members could continue to have access to the photos, recordings and reports.

“The Legislature recognizes that the existence of the internet and the proliferation of personal computers and cellular telephones throughout the world encourages and promotes the wide dissemination of such photographs, video and audio recordings and that widespread unauthorized dissemination of such photographs, video and audio recordings would subject the immediate family of the deceased to continuous injury,” part of the bill said. “The Legislature further finds that such photographs, video and audio recordings that depict or record the suicide of a person are harmful to the public. The release of such photographs, video and audio recordings may trigger persons who have a mental illness or who are experiencing severe depression to consider suicide.”

The bill is filed for consideration during the 2024 legislative session, which will start in January.

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