The Online Catalog
allows searching and browsing of information about the State Archives of Florida's
holdings of over 40,000 cubic feet of state and local government records
and historical manuscripts. The catalog provides descriptions of over
2,700 collections and lists the contents of containers and folders in
many of those collections.
Chapter 93-405, Laws of Florida restricts disclosure of the "identity of any witness, any person who was a subject of the inquiry, or any person referred to in testimony, documents, or evidence retained in the committee's records; however, this exemption does not apply to a member of the committee, its staff, or any public official who was not a subject of the inquiry."
The Florida Legislative Investigation Committee was created in 1956 (Chapter 31498, Laws) as a special joint committee of the Florida Legislature. The Committee's original mandate was to "investigate all organizations whose principles or activities include a course of conduct on the part of any person or group which would constitute violence, or a violation of the laws of the state, or would be inimical to the well being and orderly pursuit of their personal and business activities by the majority of the citizens of this state." The committee was empowered to subpoena witnesses and take testimony and to employ experts, clerical, or other assistance as needed. In 1961 (Ch. 61-62, Laws), the purpose of the committee was extended to also include the investigation of the "extent of infiltration into agencies supported by state funds by practicing homosexuals, the effect thereof on said agencies and the public, and the policies of various state agencies in dealing therewith". The Committee was disbanded in 1966.
The series contains the records of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee from 1954 to 1965. The Committee was commonly referred to as the Johns Committee, after its first chairman, Charley Johns. The records include administrative files, correspondence, transcripts of testimony, information relating to various organizations under investigation, court cases, newspaper clippings, and publications. The internal workings of the committee are reflected mainly in the correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports to the legislature, staff reports, and statements of fact. The transcripts document the investigatory process at a more personal level and include transcripts of testimony heard before the entire Committee and transcripts of individuals who were interviewed by Committee investigators or local law enforcement officers. The records reflect the Committee's early intent to investigate the extent of communist and subversive organization activity especially within the state university system in Florida. By 1961, it is apparent from the records that the focus of the investigations shifted to homosexuality. In addition, the series contains information regarding race relations, the civil rights movement, student peace movements, and anti-Castro organizations.