Gov. Rick Scott on public records, the death penalty and state parksby Dara Kam | July 1st, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott defended his administration’s public records policy to a roomful of newspaper executives at the Florida Press Association and Florida Society of Newspaper Editors annual meeting in St. Petersburg.
Scott has come under fire from the media for charging for more for public records than his predecessor, Charlie Crist, who made a habit of giving away most documents for free. Scott is charging the maximum amount allowed under Florida’s broad Sunshine Law, including costs for his legal staff to scrub the documents of private information.
The number of requests “has skyrocketed” since Scott took office in January, he said.
“Part of my job is to make sure we don’t waste taxpayers money. It costs us money to do it. We pass that cost on. It’s the right thing to do,” Scott said in a brief question-and-answer period.
Scott said he plans to put more records on the internet, but did not elaborate. His office has already put online records his staff has generated – including databases of state employees’ salaries and state workers with pensions worth at least $100,000.
Dozens of demonstrators protesting the governor’s economic agenda shouted “Pink Slip Rick” across the street from the waterfront Renaissance Vinoy Hotel as Scott spoke.
After his remarks, Scott fielded a few questions from reporters.
On signing his first death warrant Thursday night, Scott said, “I prayed about it.”
Scott ordered Manuel Valle, convicted of the 1978 murder of Coral Gables Police Department Officer Luis Pena, put to death on August 2.
“This was the moswt appropriate case,” Scott said. “He killed a law enforcment officer. He attempted to kill another law enforcement officer…It’s a hard decision but it’s the right thing to do.”
Scott also said he supports allowing private vendors to operate RV campgrounds within a handful of state parks.
“The reason we have parks is so people will use them,” he said.