Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine Laws’

Public records bill barely gets out of first committee

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
A bill that would give judges discretion to award attorney fees in public records lawsuits squeaked out of its first review panel Tuesday.
The Senate’s Governmental Oversight and Accountability cleared the bill (SB 80) by a 4-3 vote. It goes next to the Community Affairs Committee.
The measure changes the word “shall” to “may” regarding courts awarding legal fees when an “agency (has) unlawfully refused to permit a public record … to be inspected or copied.”
It would also require a “complainant (to) provide written notice of the public records request to the agency’s custodian of public records at least 5 business days before” suing. Records requests

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Bob Rommel bill would shield college presidential searches from Sunshine Laws

Monday, January 23rd, 2017
A new bill introduced by state Rep. Bob Rommel would keep secret the identities of candidates for the presidencies and other top executive positions of Florida’s state colleges and universities through most of the selection process.
House Bill 351, introduced by the Naples Republican Monday,  would create exemptions in Florida’s open records and open meetings laws, keeping secret “personal identifying information” of applicant for president, provost, or dean of a state university or a Florida College System college; and would waive any public meeting requirements for meetings held by public bodies meeting to identify or vet such candidates, including interviews.
Ultimately, the names of the finalists would

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Florida House sues over Visit Florida-Pitbull deal documents

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran sued PDR Productions Inc. Tuesday for a judge’s permission to publicly release documents involved in the Visit Florida deal used to hire Miami rapper Pitbull to promote Florida tourism.
At issue is Corcoran’s concern that Visit Florida deals — done increasingly in secret — may require deeper scrutiny in how it’s spending state money. He wants the Florida House of Representatives Appropriations Committee to hold hearings, starting with a look at the PDR contract.
But Visit Florida turned over the PDR contract only with explicit statements from the company that the firm believes its entire contents are “trade secrets” which must be

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Bill again targets attorney fees in public records cases

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
A bill that would give judges the discretion to award attorney fees in public records lawsuits was refiled Wednesday in the Florida Legislature.
New state Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican and lawyer, is again behind the legislation (SB 80). He backed a version of the bill last session as a state representative. It passed the Senate unanimously but died in the House.
The measure changes the word “shall” to “may” regarding courts awarding legal fees when an “agency (has) unlawfully refused to permit a public record … to be inspected or copied.”
It would also require a “complainant (to) provide written notice of

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Jac Wilder VerSteeg: West Palm’s version of Wikileaks

Sunday, September 20th, 2015
Open government sustained a serious setback this month. For this, you can “thank” the city of West Palm Beach, along with West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and spokesman Elliot Cohen.
As reported extensively in The Palm Beach Post, the city – in response to public records requests – posted information online that revealed the names of several undercover officers, police informants and people who are the subjects of continuing criminal investigations. The posts contained information about local and federal probes.
Edward Snowden and Wikileaks would be proud. Except in this case, the government isn’t the victim of a whistleblower. The

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