FOIA request shows Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Drug Testing Have Cost Taxpayers Nearly $400,000

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has spent nearly $400,000 in taxpayer dollars defending his various drug testing schemes, the American Civil Liberties Union said this week.

The Florida government started making welfare applicants and state workers pee in cups to prove they weren't on drugs in 2011, only to have both programs quickly halted by federal courts on constitutional grounds. In response to a records request from the Florida ACLU, the Scott administration disclosed it has spent $381,654 appealing the unfavorable rulings.

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Day Three of Florida legislative redistricting hearings: Window into reality and the defense of secret deals as ‘entirely proper

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/05/day-three-of-redistricting-window-into-reality-and-the-defense-of-secret-deals-as-entirely-proper.html#storylink=cpy

Senate President Don Gaetz testified under oath Wednesday that it was “entirely proper” for him to meet in secret with House Speaker Will Weatherford to reach a deal over a congressional map as part of the Legislature’s once-a-decade redistricting process.

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Florida League of Cities President says Keep Florida Government in the Sunshine

When it comes to having an open-and-transparent government that is accountable to the people, Florida truly leads the nation. Since the Florida Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was enacted in 1967, Florida has served as a model for other states.

In a world where technological advancements have introduced even more material into the public record, we continue to be on the cutting edge of reforms.

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Editorial: Bolster public confidence in government

For decades, Florida’s best leaders have embraced open, accountable, ethical government as a fundamental right of the state’s residents.

But others aren’t so sure. Open-government rules are seen as stumbling blocks to efficient action, and inquisitive members of the public cast as annoying gadflies. Trust us, these officials say. We know what’s best. These warring points of view play out in nearly every session of the Legislature.

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Lakeland (FL) Ledger Wins Prestigious Freedom of Information Award

The Lakeland Ledger has received the prestigious Brechner Center for Freedom of Information award for its successful battles to keep public records and government accessible.

This is a coveted national award, it recognizes excellence in reporting about freedom of information, access to government-held information or the First Amendment and it's a significant effort on behalf of all Floridians.

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Editorial: Help us champion open government

Why do Florida's government-in-the-sunshine laws matter so much? Because when nobody watches government closely, bad things happen.

Because democracy depends on an informed citizenry, and it's impossible to know what's happening without access to records and meetings.

Because how else would we know about the dangers of speeding cops in South Florida, or the prevalence of bear attacks in a Central Florida town, or the enormous number of sexual predators who attack again after their release?

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Why Freedom Of The Press Should Matter To You, And Other Tenets Of The First Amendment Foundation

When Florida media groups are concerned about freedom of the press and open government, they turn to the First Amendment Foundation for help.

Pete Weitzel, former senior editor of the Miami Herald, founded the non-profit 30 years ago.

The foundation is funded through contributions. It provides training, legal aid, and the annual Government in the Sunshine Manual as a guide to Florida’s open meetings and public-records laws.

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