Sunshine laws

Gwen Graham
Donald DeBevoise / WFSU News

Florida District Two Democratic congressional candidate Gwen Graham says if elected, she will be open about her dealings in Washington. Graham rolled out her so-called “Sunshine Plan” Wednesday.

The Graham Sunshine Plan revolves around providing insight into schedules and government meetings. It says she’d also vote for stricter disclosure of special interest money in campaigns and against congressional perks funded by taxes. Graham says she thinks elected officials should be compelled to keep the public informed.

Capital Report: 08-01-2014

Aug 4, 2014

Today [on Friday], the Florida Department of Health held its second public hearing to help shape proposed medical marijuana rules. With one strain of the drug already legalized, regulators are building the framework for growing and distributing it. As Jessica Palombo reports, the rulemaking is drawing the attention of a host of entrepreneurs who expect a more expansive medical marijuana amendment to pass in November.

Floridians will be guaranteed the right to speak at public meetings, if Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill that’s headed his way. The public comment bill passed the House on Wednesday after unanimously passing the senate.

One open government watchdog group is celebrating the Legislature’s passing what it calls the “Anti-Shushing Bill.”

Barbara Peterson, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation, said, “It’s not a huge bill. It’s a huge right.”

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.

With the Florida Legislative session a month away, some bills are being shaped in committees while others may never make it to a committee floor. But a watchdog group is already releasing its watchlist of legislation that it says could make government more open or more hidden.

The Leon County Board of Commissioners is working to make their meetings more accessible to the citizens they serve. Ryan Benk reports plans for “virtual town hall meetings” are underway.

At Tuesday’s County Commission meeting, board members talked about plans for bringing their meetings to the people. The project is in the early stages, but the plan is to start streaming county meetings live over the internet. Citizens would then be able to send written questions for the commissioners to address during the meeting.

A newly-formed state government watchdog group is calling out Enterprise Florida for possible conflicts of interests and needless secrecy that keeps taxpayers from knowing how the agency spends its money. As Sascha Cordner reports, Integrity Florida says the state’s leading economic development organization could be at risk for corruption.