Florida First Amendment Foundation Challenges Sunshine Law Exemption

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.

Florida’s sunshine laws require government meetings to be noticed and open to the public. But some lawmakers want to let local officials meet one on one. They wouldn’t be able to take votes or discuss publicly funded projects. But that doesn’t satisfy Barbara Petersen with the First Amendment Foundation.

More

Judge sets South Bay commissioner sentencing for Dec. 9; Gov. Scott mum on removal from office

From Palm Beach Post: WEST PALM BEACH — South Bay City Commissioner Shirley Walker-Turner will be sentenced Dec. 9 after being convicted last week for violating the state’s Sunshine law, a Palm Beach County court judge decided Tuesday.
Gov. Rick Scott has not yet decided whether he will remove the longtime commissioner from office — again — a spokesman said. Scott will wait until the legal proceedings are complete, said spokesman John Tupps.

More

Venice (Florida) warned about Sunshine Law

From Herald-Tribune: VENICE – Members of the Venice City Council say they need to be more cautious than ever about what they say, to whom they say it, and where and when they say it.

If they do not, the city may be accused of violating Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law and find itself in court — again. Past violations cost the city more than $1.5 million.

Visit Herald-Tribune for more.

More

Notes from meeting support Sunshine Law allegations

From Herald-Tribune: SARASOTA – Notes from a private meeting earlier this month between city officials and a downtown business group appear to support allegations that two city commissioners violated the Sunshine Law.

The notes detail a wide-ranging discussion of the city’s homelessness issues, and appear to undercut claims that city business was not discussed.

Visit Herald-Tribune for more.

More

Florida legislature considering bill that would close presidential searches

From Student Press Law Center: FLORIDA — A Florida representative has reintroduced a bill that, if enacted, would exempt public colleges from having to disclose the names of executive candidates.

Meetings where officials discuss identifying information of presidential, provost or dean candidates would also be exempt from the state’s open meetings act. Public colleges would be required to release the names of finalists at least 21 days before officials meet publicly to make a final selection. If passed, it would take effect Oct. 1, 2014.

[…]

More

Public records advocate questions West Palm Beach’s 24-hour notice of meeting

From The Palm Beach Post:

WEST PALM BEACH — A four-hour meeting of the city commission scheduled for Thursday to interview six water consultants was not announced until this afternoon, two minutes after The Palm Beach Post e-mailed Mayor Jeri Muoio and asked why the meeting wasn’t made public.

[…]

More

FSCJ will correct Sunshine Law violations that have occurred for over a decade

From The Florida Times Union

Florida State College at Jacksonville’s board kept no minutes of workshops for more than a decade, a violation of state Sunshine law college leaders say they will now correct.

The school claimed audio recordings and handouts from meetings served the purpose but now concedes that written minutes should be produced.

More