Coronavirus clampdown: The virus casts a shroud over American civic life

States and cities across the country are cutting off access to open records and canceling in-person meetings, starving the public — not to mention lobbyists and other influence-brokers — of information as the coronavirus outbreak reaches into all corners of civic life. The public access shutdown comes just as local officials make unprecedented decisions about…

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Judge orders Florida Governor Rick Scott to release travel, campaign records; Governor will appeal

A judge on Wednesday ordered Gov. Rick Scott to release about three months’ worth of meeting schedules and travel plans — including upcoming campaign events — and rejected his argument that the information should remain secret for security reasons. Circuit Judge Charles Dodson in Tallahassee ruled in favor of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The group…

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Broward Co. (FL) school board filed for contempt against Sun Sentinel — and then learned about it in Sun Sentinel

No one told some Broward school board members they were filing a contempt-of-court case against the South Florida Sun Sentinel. No one except the Sun Sentinel, that is. The district’s chief lawyer, Barbara Myrick, asked a judge this week to hold the newspaper and two reporters in contempt of court for publishing an uncensored report…

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News Release – State/Local government FOI audits reveal administrative shortcomings

News Release May 30, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Daniel Bevarly  (239) 823-1811 · dbevarly@nfoic.org   State/Local government FOI audits reveal administrative shortcomings  Charging different fees for the same public record. Refusing to allow residents to use their cell phones to copy records and save money. The absence of online content to provide necessary information…

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Report Documents Florida’s Lack of Accountability for Public Records Requests

                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Report Documents Florida’s Lack of Accountability for Public Records Requests   Percent of Requests with Fees and Amount Collected Varies Widely from County to County   Gainesville, Fla., April 16, 2018  Despite having some of the most open public records laws in the country, Florida’s lack of accountability…

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Critics of Florida tourism agencies pleased with new accountability, transparency measures

A public-private agency that promotes Florida’s tourism industry won full funding from the state legislature despite criticism that the state support amounts to corporate welfare.

But the $76 million approved for Visit Florida during a special session of the legislature last week came with stiffer reporting requirements aimed at making the agency’s activities more transparent.

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Florida First Amendment Foundation 2017 Legislative Review

The Florida First Amendment Foundation worked hard throughout Florida's legislative session to advocate for open government and freedom of information. They just released their final report for the 2017 session, which can be found with their weekly reports.

The reports can be found here.

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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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