The Florida Sunshine Law

The Florida Sunshine Law was first enacted in 1967, and today the details regarding open government can be found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statues. The law states that the Attorney General’s Office will compile a comprehensive guide annually called the Government-in-the-Sunshine manual for the residents of the state. This law ensures that any records that were made or received by any sort of public agency in the course of its legitimate business are open for inspection, unless explicitly released by the Florida Legislature.

The Florida government has been consistently open and supportive of the public’s right to access governmental meetings and records at their leisure. Throughout the years there have been discrepancies as to what exactly qualifies as public records and information and the Attorney General’s Office has been working throughout to protect the citizens’ rights and stop public records violations. One of the major ways that they were able to secure the aforementioned right is through explicit language in the Florida Constitution via constitutional amendment. The amendment guaranteed the ongoing openness of the state’s government within the legislative branch and even extended to the judiciary as well in 1992.

These amendments and laws safeguard the public’s right to inspect public records. This will keep them abreast to different conversations and decisions that otherwise wouldn’t be publicized. Whether the records refer to corporate law, environmental law, local regulations, or foreign affairs, all of it is available to the Florida public. With having such close neighbors south of Florida, keeping the public in the know when it comes to interactions with domestic companies infiltrating the southern markets, the Sunshine Law is a huge asset.

The law also requires that meetings that occur involving boards or commissions must be open for the public to attend, there must be a reasonable notice of said meetings and when they will occur, and the minutes of the meetings must be recorded as well. With these laws in place, it ensures that the Florida public are able to get as involved in the local government, boards, and commissions as they would like. It is important that this is the case because often times the decisions that are being made at these meetings will affect a great deal of people and making them more accessible for the public and keeping things in constant discussion will benefit the area and state as a whole. With the public able to be present, their needs and desires will always be considered.

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