SB 1640 (Watson/Phelan) Relating to changing the criminal offense of conspiracy to circumvent the open meetings law was sent to the Governor on 5/25. Under the bill, a member of a governmental body would commit an offense if the member knowingly engaged in at least one communication among a series of communications that each occurred outside of a meeting authorized by the Open Meetings Act. At the time the member engaged in the communication, the member also would have to have known that the series of communications involved or would involve a quorum and would constitute a deliberation once a quorum engaged in the series of communications. The bill would revise the definition of “deliberation” to mean a verbal or written exchange between a quorum of a governmental body, or between a quorum of a governmental body and another person, concerning an issue within the jurisdiction of the governmental body.

SB 943 (Watson/Capriglione) Relating to the disclosure of certain contracting information under the public information law was sent to the Governor on 5/25. The bill would expand public disclosure requirements related to government contracts under the Public Information Act and impose recordkeeping requirements on certain entities in possession of such information. The bill would revise exceptions from disclosure based on competitive advantage and trade secrets, create a new exception from disclosure for proprietary information, and expand the definition of a governmental body.

SB 944 (Watson) relating to the public information law and was referred to as the omnibus public information bill this session was signed by the Governor on 5/28. The adopted conference committee report removed all House amendments and retained the Senate’s original language and was sent to the Governor on 5/26.