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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title IV
EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Chapter 15
SECRETARY OF STATE
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F.S. 15.16
15.16 Reproduction of records; admissibility in evidence; electronic receipt and transmission of records; certification; acknowledgment.
(1) The Department of State may cause to be made copies of any records maintained by it by miniature photographic microfilming or microphotographic processes or any other photographic, mechanical, or other process heretofore or hereafter devised, including electronic data processing.
(2) Photographs, nonerasable optical images, or microphotographs in the form of film, facsimiles, or prints of any records made in compliance with the provisions of this section shall have the same force and effect as the originals thereof and shall be treated as originals for the purpose of their admissibility in evidence. Duly certified or authenticated reproductions of such photographs, nonerasable optical images, or microphotographs shall be admitted in evidence equally with the original photographs, nonerasable optical images, or microphotographs.
(3)(a) The Department of State may cause to be received electronically any records that are required or authorized to be filed with it pursuant to chapter 48, chapter 55, chapter 117, chapter 118, chapter 495, chapter 605, chapter 606, chapter 607, chapter 610, chapter 617, chapter 620, chapter 621, chapter 679, chapter 713, or chapter 865, through facsimile or other electronic transfers, for the purpose of filing such records. The originals of all such electronically transmitted records must be executed in the manner provided in paragraph (5)(b). The receipt of such electronic transfer constitutes delivery to the department as required by law. The department may use electronic transmissions for purposes of notice in the administration of chapters 48, 55, 117, 118, 495, 605, 606, 607, 610, 617, 620, 621, 679, and 713 and s. 865.09. The Department of State may collect e-mail addresses for purposes of notice and communication in the performance of its duties and may require filers and registrants to furnish such e-mail addresses when presenting documents for filing.
(b) The department may implement a password-protected system for any record electronically received pursuant to paragraph (a) and may require filers to produce supplemental materials to use such system, including, but not limited to, an original signature of the filer and verification of credentials. The department may also implement a password-protected system that allows entities organized under the chapters specified in paragraph (a) to identify authorized account holders for the purpose of electronically filing records related to the entity. If the department implements such a system, it must send to each e-mail address on file with the Division of Corporations on January 1, 2024, a code to participate in a password-protected system. The department may require verification of the identity of an authorized account holder before the account holder is authorized to electronically file a record with the department.
(c)1. E-mail addresses collected by the Department of State pursuant to this subsection are exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This exemption applies to e-mail addresses held by the Department of State before, on, or after the effective date of the exemption.
2. Secure login credentials held by the Department of State for the purpose of allowing a person to electronically file records under this subsection are exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This exemption applies to secure login credentials held by the Department of State before, on, or after the effective date of the exemption. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “secure login credentials” means information held by the department for purposes of authenticating a user logging into a user account on a computer, a computer system, a computer network, or an electronic device; an online user account accessible over the Internet, whether through a mobile device, a website, or any other electronic means; or information used for authentication or password recovery.
3. This paragraph is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2028, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department may certify or acknowledge and electronically transmit any record maintained by it. The certification must be evidenced by a certification code on each page transmitted which must include the filing number of the document, date of transmission, and page number of the total number of pages transmitted, and a sequential certification number assigned by the department which will identify the transmission and be available for verification of any transmitted acknowledgment or certified document.
(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of State shall determine for purposes of electronic filing of any document placed under its jurisdiction for filing or recordation:
(a) The appropriate format, which must be retrievable or reproducible in typewritten or printed form and must be legible.
(b) The manner of execution, which may include any symbol, manual, facsimile, conformed, or electronic signature adopted by a person with the present intent to authenticate a document.
(c) The method of electronic transmission, and fee payment for such document.
(d) The amount of any fee surcharge or discount for the use of an electronic filing format.
(6) The Department of State may use government or private sector contractors in the promotion or provision of any electronic filing services.
(7) The Secretary of State may issue apostilles conforming to the requirements of the international treaty known as the Hague Convention of 1961 and may charge a fee for the issuance of apostilles not to exceed $10 per apostille. The Secretary of State has the sole authority in this state to establish, in accordance with the laws of the United States, the requirements and procedures for the issuance of apostilles.
(8) The Department of State may use government or private sector contractors in the promotion or provision of any electronic filing services and may discount the filing fee in an amount equal to the convenience charge for such electronic filings.
History.s. 1, ch. 67-15; ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 89-341; s. 1, ch. 93-281; s. 12, ch. 99-218; s. 72, ch. 99-251; s. 3, ch. 2001-195; s. 1, ch. 2001-200; s. 1, ch. 2009-72; s. 1, ch. 2009-129; s. 11, ch. 2012-116; s. 12, ch. 2015-148; s. 1, ch. 2022-190; s. 1, ch. 2023-52; s. 1, ch. 2023-53.