Florida clamps down on COVID-19 records, taking a ‘so sue me’ attitude, transparency advocates say

Records requesters seeking information about COVID-19 in Florida face long delays and large fees. “But perhaps more worrisome, we’re often hearing that some agencies will stonewall, fail to respond, and provide nothing, for months,” said Pam Marsh, president of the First Amendment Foundation of Florida. “It’s basically a ‘so sue me’ kind of attitude, daring…

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Florida: Governments resist citizens on public records

TALLAHASSEE — A long-running clash between state water managers and a celebrated environmental activist is heightening tension over aggressive tactics used by Florida governments pushing back against citizens seeking public records. The battle also is putting Florida at the forefront of a rising trend. Instead of turning over requests for records, a growing number of…

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FL: Lawmakers score better on openness, but Sunshine Law exemptions still pass

Some Florida lawmakers received better grades this year when it came to transparency in government, but erosion of the state’s famed “Sunshine Laws” continued with more exemptions passed. Lawmakers passed 12 bills creating new exemptions this year, including measures to block access to building plans for health care facilities; U.S. Census Bureau address information; data…

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Erosion of Sunshine Laws in Florida continued over past year

TALLAHASSEE — Some Florida lawmakers received better grades this year when it came to transparency in government, but erosion of the state’s famed “Sunshine Laws” continued with more exemptions passed. Lawmakers passed 12 bills creating new exemptions this year, including measures to block access to building plans for health care facilities; U.S. Census Bureau address…

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Orlando Sentinel Commentary: Why does Winter Park shun the sunshine?

recent back-and-forth between the First Amendment Foundation and Winter Park city officials has highlighted a troubling issue for supporters of Florida’s “Government in the Sunshine” laws: the questionable legality of one-on-one meetings between elected officials. Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary, referring to his meeting with Commissioner Gregory Seidel on Nov. 29 and Seidel’s one-on-one with…

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FL: State Attorney’s office clears Fairpoint Regional Utility System of violating Sunshine Law

The State Attorney’s office announced Friday that it found no wrongdoing by Fairpoint Regional Utility System members who were accused of violating the state’s Sunshine Law. Chief Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille wrote the utility system is not subject to the Sunshine Law, so members of the FRUS board of directors could not have violated the law….

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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.

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Sarasota, Fla. Montessori school under investigation for alleged Sunshine Law violation

The state attorney's office is now investigating an alleged sunshine law violation at a Suncoast charter school.

This follows an increasingly tense dispute between the school and parents of a former student.

Island Village Montessori School is a remote campus off Clark road. For three years, Jennifer and Jeffrey Buck–parents of 2nd grader Cooper Buck–say they poured time and energy into the school.

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