FAF Sunshine Report – Volume 3 Fall 2013

From Florida First Amendment Foundation: In this issue —

Petersen appointed to user experience task force

State Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) recently appointed FAF President Barbara Petersen to a special legislative panel assigned to improve online access to financial records and contracts. The User Experience Task Force will evaluate ways to make data more accessible to the public by consolidating existing state operational and fiscal information websites into a single website . . .

Putting Pensacola back into the sunshine

FAF President Barbara Petersen traveled to Pensacola on Aug. 19 for "Sunshine in the City," a series of three seminars designed to train city employees, board members, council members and the general public about Florida's public records and Sunshine Laws. The training sessions received so much attention that they required a larger meeting room than was previously booked. Government employees and council members attended the first two sessions. The third session, held in the evening, was geared toward the public, with Petersen providing basic information about the state's Sunshine Laws and how citizens might use those laws to obtain public records and attend government meetings . . .

CS/SB 50, anti-shushing bill, is signed into law

TALLAHASSEE — CS/SB 50, requiring that the public be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard before a board or commission takes action, cleared its final hurdle when the governor approved the bill. Momentum began building for legislation guaranteeing the right to speak after two appellate courts held that Florida's famed Sunshine Law doesn't specifically grant the public an opportunity to speak to their elected representatives at public meetings. CS/SB 50, sponsored by Senator Joe Negron, corrects this grievous wrong by amending s. 286.011, F.S., the Sunshine Law, to specifically state that the public must be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard before a board or commission makes a final decision . . .

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