A proposed committee bill has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives that would block the release of recordings on 911 calls. What's with the timing? Gee, could it have anything to do with the 911 tapes that were released in the wake of the Tiger Woods controversy?
Currently, under sunshine laws, 911 tapes are allowed to be released to the media, but any material relating to names,
home addresses, telephone numbers, or personal information is excluded. The new law would block all 911 calls from release. Transcript would be available, but only after 60 days. Anyone requesting the transcript would have to pay for the actual transcription. [Read a PDF of the bill here]
Florida's First Amendment Foundation is even calling it "The Tiger Woods Relief Act", after the 911 tapes were released to the media following the car accident that tipped off his current problems.
The group worries that it could limit the accountability of emergency management agencies.
"How else is the public to assert any sort of oversight of our emergency services departments? Did the police respond in a timely manner or do they give preference to good neighborhoods over bad? Were the emergency operators trained properly? Did they respond to the emergency appropriately?" asked a spokesman for the group in a statement.
The proposed change of law will be taken up by the The House Governmental Affairs Policy Committee, which meets tomorrow.