§120.53 FS | MAINTENANCE OF AGENCY FINAL ORDERS
(1) In addition to maintaining records contained in s. 119.021(3), each agency shall also electronically transmit a certified text-searchable copy of each agency final order listed in subsection (2) rendered on or after July 1, 2015, to a centralized electronic database of agency final orders maintained by the division. The database must allow users to research and retrieve the full texts of agency final orders by:
(a) The name of the agency that issued the final order.
(b) The date the final order was issued.
(c) The type of final order.
(d) The subject of the final order.
(e) Terms contained in the text of the final order.
(2) The agency final orders that must be electronically transmitted to the centralized electronic database include:
(a) Each final order resulting from a proceeding under s. 120.57 or s. 120.573.
(b) Each final order rendered pursuant to s. 120.57(4) which contains a statement of agency policy that may be the basis of future agency decisions or that may otherwise contain a statement of precedential value.
(c) Each declaratory statement issued by an agency.
(d) Each final order resulting from a proceeding under s. 120.56 or s. 120.574.
(3) Each agency shall maintain a list of all final orders rendered pursuant to s. 120.57(4) that are not required to be electronically transmitted to the centralized electronic database because they do not contain statements of agency policy or statements of precedential value. The list must include the name of the parties to the proceeding and the number assigned to the final order.
(4) Each final order, whether rendered by the agency or the division, that must be electronically transmitted to the centralized electronic database or maintained on a list pursuant to subsection (3) must be electronically transmitted to the database or added to the list within 90 days after the final order is rendered. Each final order that must be electronically transmitted to the database or added to the list must have attached a copy of the complete text of any materials incorporated by reference; however, if the quantity of the materials incorporated makes attachment of the complete text of the materials impractical, the final order may contain a statement of the location of such materials and the manner in which the public may inspect or obtain copies of the materials incorporated by reference.
(5) Nothing in this section relieves an agency from its responsibility for maintaining a subject matter index of final orders rendered before July 1, 2015, and identifying the location of the subject matter index on the agency’s website. In addition, an agency may electronically transmit to the centralized electronic database certified copies of all of the final orders that were rendered before July 1, 2015, which were required to be in the subject matter index. The centralized electronic database constitutes the official compilation of administrative final orders rendered on or after July 1, 2015, for each agency.
History.—s. 1, ch. 74-310; s. 2, ch. 75-191; s. 2, ch. 76-131; s. 2, ch. 79-299; s. 1, ch. 81-296; s. 2, ch. 81-309; s. 8, ch. 83-92; s. 34, ch. 83-217; s. 3, ch. 83-273; s. 1, ch. 84-203; s. 77, ch. 85-180; s. 2, ch. 87-100; s. 2, ch. 88-384; s. 44, ch. 90-136; s. 35, ch. 90-302; s. 2, ch. 91-30; s. 79, ch. 91-45; s. 1, ch. 91-191; s. 1, ch. 92-166; s. 143, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 757, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 96-159; s. 2, ch. 96-423; s. 2, ch. 97-176; s. 3, ch. 2008-104; s. 2, ch. 2015-155.
"Obviously, the legislature has determined the compiling and indexing of Board orders is an important part of the administrative system of justice. It appears the legislature has made a policy decision that the judicial concept of stare decisis should apply to administrative proceedings by requiring the agency to provide reasonable access to prior agency orders. An indexing system is essential to access:"
No matter how many rules the agencies adopt, citizens will still need access to a subject matter index of orders. The Florida Act requires each agency to prepare a subject matter index of its orders and to make this index available to the public. The purpose is to protect citizens against arbitrariness, to give citizens the means of finding out whether they are receiving treatment equal to similarly situated persons, and to give the courts the opportunity to determine whether the agency is acting arbitrarily or evenhandedly.
L. Harold Levinson, The Florida Administrative Procedure Act After 15 Years, 18 Fla.St.U.L.Rev. 749, 764 (1991) (footnote omitted).
...Persons have the right to examine agency precedent and the right to know the factual basis and policy reasons for agency action.
...the court noted that the entry of inconsistent orders based upon similar facts, without a reasonable explanation, may violate section 120.68(12)(b), Florida Statutes (1991), as well as the equal protection guarantees of both the Florida and United States Constitutions.
- Gessler v DBPR, 627 So. 2d 501 (4DCA 1993)