Sunshine Law

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.

The sun would no longer come out when it comes to identifying university and college president and provost candidates. At least that’s the point of a public-record exemption moving in the Legislature.

A proposal that would partially shield some public university executive searches has stalled for the second time in the Senate. The second delay for the bill could mean trouble.

floridasupremecourt.org / Florida Supreme Court

Open government advocates are asking “What Would Askew Do?” when it comes to public officials and financial reporting. The late Governor Reubin Askew promoted government transparency, and a lawsuit filed before the Florida Supreme Court says when public officials use blind trusts to hide their assets, it’s unconstitutional.

LHatter / myflorida.com

In the past few years, there have been several high-level vacancies at Florida’s public universities. And in many cases university trustees have expressed dissatisfaction with replacement candidates.

Such was the case at Florida A&M, where, shortly before naming Cornell University’s Elmira Mangum to the post, trustee Karl White complained about Florida’s open record laws:

“This was my 6th presidential, in some form, search. I have to say this one was the  most difficult ... based upon the constraints of the Sunshine Law," he said.

Florida A&M University has approved a plan changing the mission of its hazing task force. Lynn Hatter reports the change steers the committee away from its original task of delivering “best-practices” recommendations and also allows it to meet in private.

Under the new designation of a “fact-finding” mission, FAMU’s anti-hazing task force does not have to hold public meetings. University trustee Belinda Shannon says the change will allow the committee to meet as “expeditiously as possible.” But the move has its critics, like fellow trustee Rufus Montgomery.