PRESS RELEASE: Florida Sunshine Coalition to take action against open government attacks at Nov. 16 summit

Open government in Florida is under attack and the Florida First Amendment Foundation (FAF) is taking action.

Gathering in Orlando on Monday, Nov. 16, FAF and other members of the Florida Sunshine Coalition will discuss the issues and open government challenges Florida citizens face today and those the Coalition anticipates for the 2016 legislative session. They will decide on a platform for the Coalition and develop a plan for moving forward.

The Coalition wants to remind Florida's elected officials just how far they have strayed from the Florida Government in the Sunshine laws instituted more than 40 years ago.

"This year alone, we've seen the Legislature acknowledge that its redistricting process was carried out in unconstitutional secrecy," said Barbara A. Petersen, FAF President. "That intentional behavior has cost taxpayers $11 million so far."

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet have paid out more than $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars in fees and settlements to rectify violations of our constitutional right of access to the meetings and records of our government. A full one-third of the bills passed by the 2015 Legislature exempted previously public information from disclosure.

Florida lawmakers, who take a pledge to uphold Florida law, have exempted more than 1,100 exemptions as an end-run around the intent of Sunshine.

Most recently, the Center for Public Integrity gave Florida a D- for transparency and accountability.

Speakers at the Orlando Nov. 16 summit include award-winning journalist Carl Hiaasen; Mary Ellen Klas, Bureau Chief, Miami Herald; and Sandra F. Chance, Executive Director, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, University of Florida; and Petersen.

Reservations to attend the summit are required. Please email: for availability.