Florida Public Records Law—HCC fully complies with Florida’s Public Records laws as outlined in Chapter 119, Florida Statutes—“The Sunshine law”.
HCC records are open to the public for review and copies unless exempt in accordance with State or Federal laws. For purposes of release of information to the public, the Executive Director for Marketing and Public Relations will serve as the primary custodian of record for HCC. (In the absence of the primary custodian, the General Counsel’s Office will serve as the alternate).
Public Records—Florida law defines "public records" as: All documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software or other material, regardless of physical form, or characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.
Exemptions from Public Records—State and federal laws exempt certain types of public records, or portions thereof, from disclosure under the public records law. Exemptions that frequently apply to HCC records include but are not limited to:
- Education records under FERPA
- Social Security Numbers
- Personal information regarding specific public employees/officers such as law enforcement officers or their families
- Academic evaluations of employees performance
Documents that are public records but contain exempt information will be produced after removing the exempt information, unless the exempt information in the document is so extensive that removal is not feasible. The determination whether a document or if information is exempt from the public records law will be made by HCC General Counsel’s Office.
Who can Request a Public Record—Anyone can make a request for a public record, which means the public, the media, a law firm, any individual including our faculty, staff and students. The requestor is not required to fill out any forms, provide identification or state their name or other identifying information to request or review records. The request can be for access to review or for copies.
How to request a Public Record—Public records requests may be made in person, in writing, or by phone. The person who is requesting the information does not need to give a reason or "legitimate need" to view the records. To request records you may contact the following:
- Requests for Public Records may be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Requests made by the Media: Contact the Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations at: email@example.com or 813.259.6589.
- Requests and Subpoenas for Student Records: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Requests and Subpoenas for HCC Personnel Records: email@example.com
- Requests and Subpoenas related to litigation: Contact the General Counsel’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813.253.7007
Response time for a public records request—The College must respond to a public records request within a reasonable period of time after receiving the request. All requests to review or copy HCC public records will be under supervision by the custodian of records or a designee. HCC will provide a written explanation with the reason for a denial of access/copies or for delay.
What constitutes a reasonable period of time depends upon the circumstances surrounding the request, including the nature of the request, the size of the request, the likely quantity of records to be produced, whether extensive use of information technology resources or clerical services are required, and the timing of the request (i.e., whether holidays intervene).
Not required when responding to a Public Records Request—There is no requirement under Florida Law to do any of the following when responding to a request:
- Create a new record
- Provide the record in the format requested
- Meet the requestor’s timetable
- Provide information in the records
- Explain the records
Fee for Public Records Requests—If copies are made for the requestor there is a charge of:
- $0.15 per page
- $0.20 per double-sided copies
- $1.00 for certified copies
In addition to the duplications cost above, if retrieving or copying the public records requires extensive use of information technology resources or clerical and/or supervisory assistance, the College will assess a reasonable service charge based on the College's actual incurred costs.
- An estimate of the charges will be given to the requestor prior to responding to the request.
- All charges will be collected upfront before producing the requested documents.
- The College follows the “Extensive Request” definition outlined in Section 119.07(4)(d), Florida Statutes.
- Records will be provided in electronic format, if possible.