sunshine law

Total Cost For Gov. DeSantis, Florida Cabinet's Trip To Israel Released

Jul 15, 2019

By Ana Ceballos / News Service of Florida

More than a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Cabinet members wrapped up a six-day trip in Israel, the price tag of the mostly privately funded trip was revealed on Friday. 

Judge Turns Down Bid To Block Cabinet Meeting In Israel

May 29, 2019

A Tallahassee judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought against Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet by open-government advocates, who made a last-ditch effort to stop a Cabinet meeting in Israel because they argue it will violate the state’s open-meeting laws.

The First Amendment Foundation (FAF) in Tallahassee keeps watch over policy discussions that could impede the public’s right to know about government business.

“We track all bills that affect the public’s ability to oversee government and hold it accountable," says FAF president Barbara Petersen.

The foundation tracked 111 bills this year that would create new open government exemptions or extend current exemptions. 25 of them passed.

A bill in the Florida legislature would remove from public record video, audio, or images of mass violence victims.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

In mid-September, the parents of two children killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School criticized a number of public agencies for failing to give them access to public records, such as meeting minutes, e-mails and police training exercise information related to the shooting.

They called into question Florida's "Sunshine Law," designed to guarantee that the public has access to the public records of governmental bodies in Florida.

Appeals Court To Hear Arguments On Scott Records

Oct 2, 2018

Moving quickly, an appeals court has scheduled a hearing next week in a public-records lawsuit about whether Gov. Rick Scott should be required to turn over his calendar to an organization locked in a battle with the state about Medicaid contracts. 

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.

rows of public records
Wikipedia Commons / WLRN

Broward Health operates five public hospitals that serve the majority of people living in central and northern Broward County. This week, five of the agency’s board members were indicted on charges of violating Florida’s open government law, also known as the Sunshine Law. 

The charges could affect the health system’s national search for a new CEO.

 

When the grand jury indictments came down, the board was in the middle of a national search for a new CEO of the health system. 

Broward Health Medical Center building
Broward Health Medical Center / WLRN

Top officials on the Broward Health System’s board have been indicted on counts of violating Florida’s open government law. 

 

Florida’s Sunshine Law, a series of laws put in place to guarantee the public's access to governmental records,  includes an open meetings rule: Public boards have to conduct their business in public and notify people before they do. 

Open government advocates are urging Governor Rick Scott to veto a measure that would seal nearly three million criminal records from public view.

The bill started as a non-controversial proposal to crack down on internet publishers of police booking photos. But Sarasota Republican Greg Steube quietly added an amendment on the Senate Floor.

“This amendment addresses the concerns from FDLE and would enable the department to administratively seal the criminal record of a person found not guilty or where the charges against that person have been dismissed.”

According to state law and conventional wisdom, sunshine is the best disinfectant for political corruption. Florida lawmakers agreed Tuesday. The House blocked a plan to let local officials keep some of their meetings in the dark.

Florida public universities and colleges may be able to hold secret searches for new leaders.

This Tax Day, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer launched a new tool designed to make government spending and revenue more accessible to the average citizen.

The website — USAFacts.org — has been slow and buggy for users on Tuesday, apparently due to the level of traffic. It offers interactive graphics showing data on revenue, spending, demographics and program missions.

CHABELI HERRERA / MIAMI HERALD

This week on The Florida Roundup...

Miami-Dade County has inked a deal with Airbnb for the home-sharing company to collect and pay hotel taxes. Yet, the city of Miami and Miami Beach continue to pushback against the service and its hosts.

As Florida Gulf Coast University begins interviewing candidates for the school’s next president this week, a state representative has proposed a bill that would exempt those applying for president, provost or dean at state colleges and universities from Florida’s broad open records laws.

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