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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Will Florida’s Constitution revision follow Sunshine laws?

Florida’s unique quest to update its state Constitution begins Monday as the 37-member commission meets for an organizational session in the Florida Senate chambers, and tensions have already started to mount behind the scenes.

The group, dominated by Republicans, will meet briefly for two hours, review its proposed rules and go over the state’s ethics and Sunshine laws. The draft rules, however, are already stoking some debate.

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Fl.: Senate advances bill to weaken citizens’ leverage in public records disputes

A bill that attempts to flush out serial abusers of Florida’s public records law was tightened Monday to appeal to Sunshine Law advocates, but the groups said the changes don’t go far enough to protect the public.

The bill, SB 80 by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would give judges more discretion in deciding whether or not to award attorneys fees in public-records lawsuits.

“What I’m trying to do here is reach some kind of compromise,” he said.

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Florida reporters to see how lawmakers stand on open records

Because of Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, the state's records and meetings are more accessible than in most states. But the Legislature has, year in and year out, instituted, or considered instituting, numerous exemptions. The body, on average, imposes up to a dozen a year; the grand total, as of early February, was 1,119.

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Fla.: Judges look at Sunshine Law in workers’ comp case

An appeals court weighed arguments Wednesday about whether Florida's Sunshine Law was violated before regulators last year approved a 14.5 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal did not issue a ruling Wednesday. But its decision will have high stakes: A Leon County circuit judge said in November that the rate increase should be rejected because of Sunshine Law violations.

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Attorney fees proposal could hurt access to Florida public records, watchdogs say

State senators on Tuesday gave their first approval to legislation that open government advocates say threatens to roll back access to public records in Florida.

The bill (SB 80) would let judges decide whether or not to force government agencies to pay attorney fees when they illegally block access to records. Current law requires that agencies pay for the lawyers of members of the public who successfully sue them over records.

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Florida CIO: Transparency Requires Government Data to Be Available and Accessible

Making government data ­available offers much value, to both citizens and an active democracy.

The digital age and the internet have ushered in many changes to our global culture, particularly when it comes to expectations for information access. Technology is readily available to aid in the ease and efficiency of data analysis, analytics and distribution, which citizens now expect.

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Ratings agency warns in brief against ‘dramatic expansion’ of Florida’s Sunshine Law

State regulators and an organization that proposes workers’ compensation coverage rates in Florida defended themselves in pleadings to a state appeals court this week, seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that they had violated open-government laws.

Attorneys for the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, submitted their arguments in a brief filed Wednesday with the 1st District Court of Appeal. The state office of Insurance Regulation is also a party to the suit, filed by Miami workers’ compensation attorney James Fee.

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Florida FAF: All Delray police officers will have body cameras within 5 years

The Delray Beach Police Department will equip all of its officers with body cameras within five years after the city agreed Tuesday to put nearly $1 million toward the venture.

“This is going to be the norm in law enforcement,” Police Chief Jeff Goldman told the city commission Tuesday evening. “We are just a proactive organization and we try to stay ahead of curve.”

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Social media feud leads to public records fight in Miami Beach

In a complaint filed last week, Stern says the mayor, Philip Levine, “employs … digital mediums including social media to communicate official business,” noting that the Twitter and Facebook accounts at issue identify him as mayor and are used for constituent engagement and informing city residents of important events (e.g., the Zika outbreak in Miami Beach). These accounts are separate from Levine’s personal and campaign ones.

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