public records

Joe Gratz via Flickr

Florida lawmakers are considering letting local officials meet one on one, outside of the public eye. But a first amendment advocate says the change could encourage corruption.

Nick Evans

Florida’s lawmakers have a busy week coming up as 2016’s regular session begins to wind down.  Here are some highlights on the docket.

Florida's League of Cities lobbies to protect local authority.
Steven Adams via Flickr

Florida’s League of Cities has a full slate of pet projects for the coming session.  The issues center on defending local governing authority, but the League is also backing a controversial public records exemption.

The public records exemption is a constant in every legislative session. Ever since a majority of Floridians amended the state constitution to ensure broad access to governmental records and meetings, restrictions to public meetings and records increase every legislative session.

Capital Report: 03-31-2014

Mar 31, 2014

Florida lawmakers will again be taking up some gun-related bills this week, either in committee or on the floor.  One of these is the so-called “Warning Shot Bill”.  Another would allow people to carry firearms without permits during times of declared emergency.  Sascha Cordner brings us up to speed on another, somewhat less heated measure, which has been dubbed the “Pop Tart Bill.”

A new law aimed at paperwork reduction will allow Florida election supervisors to register voters electronically. Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the law but vetoed an exemption that would have taken those voters’ email addresses out of public record.

President of the open-government group Florida First Amendment Foundation, Barbara Peterson, applauds the veto.

“The exemption just didn’t make sense to me," she said.

Among the bills heading to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk this week are two that create new exemptions to Florida’s public records laws. The president of a group that advocates for more open government is saying she wishes lawmakers would debate such measures more thoughtfully, and she’s urging the governor to veto them.

A nonprofit organization that tries to keep Florida government transparent and accountable is releasing its watch list of the “best” and “worst” bills filed so far for this legislative session. The First Amendment Foundation announced its list at the Florida Capitol on Wednesday.

The Foundation’s "worst of the worst" is a bill filed by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo). The bill would exempt financial records of companies that submit bids for state contracts because, it says, such openness gives an unfair advantage to competing firms.

A website set up to make the emails of top officials and staffers in the Governor’s office available to the public is again in the spotlight  after a Times/Miami Herald report revealed the email address used for Governor Rick Scott isn’t his official state account. The “Project Sunburst” portal lets the public view emails for the governor, lieutenant governor and executive staff.

Ever wanted to know what Florida Governor Rick Scott writes in his e-mails? Now You can. Scott’s emails and those of 11 members of his  executive office are now available online. A new website called “Project Sunburst” archives most of the emails coming and going from the governor’s office.