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Category archives for: Sunshine Law

Open Court Proceedings Require NRA-Backed Gun Litigants To Be Named, Florida Argues

| September 26, 2018

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office is asking a federal appeals court to reject arguments that two 19-year-olds should be able to remain anonymous in a challenge to a new state gun law.

Supreme Court Clears Release of Parkland Massacre Videos School Board Sought to Block

| August 22, 2018

The order sides with a coalition of news organizations and ordered the release of footage from the afternoon of Feb. 14, when 17 people were killed at the school.

Fearing Lawsuit, a Commissioner Questions Streaming Government Meetings

| July 23, 2018

A deputy clerk in Bunnell and a city commissioners wanted to end streaming government meetings from fear of getting sued until the city attorney saw an overreaction.

Bunnell Short-Lists Six Men For City Manager, But May Have Violated Sunshine Law

| June 7, 2018

The Bunnell City Commission short-listed six city manager candidates out of 18 outside of a public meeting, a method courts have found to violate the Sunshine law.

State Objects to Anonymity of 19 Year Old Woman Seeking to Join NRA Lawsuit

| May 7, 2018

Lawyers for Attorney General Pam Bondi asked a federal judge to deny the anonymity request, calling it unjustified, and open court proceedings more important.

Jury Finds Ex-Elections Supervisor Kimberle Weeks Guilty On All 7 Felony Counts of Illegally Recording Others

| April 5, 2018

Former Flagler County Elections Supervisor Kimberle Weeks was found guilty on felony counts that she illegally recorded other officials during her tenure.

Kimberle Weeks Trial Day 3: Defense Opts Against Putting On a Case, Relying on Outlier Theory Instead

| April 4, 2018

In an echo of Kimberle Weeks’s own irreverence toward established law, her lawyers are arguing an untested and unusual interpretation of what amounts to a public meeting: all conversations between public officials involving public business.

Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland’s State Of the City Address at Community Center

| April 3, 2018

The full text of Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland’s State of the City Address at an event produced by the Observer Tuesday.

The Selling of Palm Coast:
Mayor’s State of the City Speech: $40 a Plate, Sponsors Sought, Profits Go To The Observer

| March 22, 2018

Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland headlines a State of the City event at the city’s new community center in April, but for $40 a ticket. The for profit event is produced by the Observer, which will take all earnings.

Court Allows ACLU’s Public Record Fight Over Police Tracking of Cell Phones

| June 20, 2017

The ACLU requested the records from Jackson as part of a broader inquiry in 2014 into the Sarasota Police Department’s use of what are known as “Stingray” tracking devices.

Secret Hospital Inspections Revealing Errors and Mishaps and May Become Public at Last

| April 22, 2017

The federal government has proposed requiring that accreditors release reports on the problems they find during hospital inspections. Right now, the reports are secret.

Lawmakers Back Secrecy for Murder Witnesses

| March 9, 2017

Witnesses’ identifying information would remain secret for two years after the date of the incidents, except to prosecutors and police.

New School Board Chairman Trevor Tucker Calls For, and Gets, Half As Many Meetings

| November 23, 2016

Relying on a faulty analogy with Duval County schools, Flagler County School Board Chairman Trevor Tucker wants the number of meetings cut from four to two per month, but wants these to be meatier than they’ve been. The board gave its guarded approval.

Gov. Scott’s Office of Open Government Barricades Itself

| September 15, 2016

Florida once had one of the toughest sunshine laws in the country, and people were proud of that. But it’s no longer the case. Transparency has given way to talk–and barricades.

Appeals Court Sides With Florida Prisons in Public Records Dispute With Miami Herald

| August 29, 2016

The Florida prisons department was required to provide item-by-item legal explanations for its decisions to black out information on public records requested by the Herald — a process known as redacting the information.

Florida Continues to Suppress Lethal-Injection Records in Face of Challenge by Death Row Inmates

| August 24, 2016

Lawyers for seven Death Row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona in June filed a subpoena seeking years of records related to Florida’s triple-drug lethal injection protocol, including the types of drugs purchased, the strengths and amounts of the drugs, the expiration dates of the drugs and the names of suppliers.

Citing “Public Policy Interests,” Florida Refusing to Disclose Information on Drugs Used in Lethal Injections

| July 14, 2016

Lawyers representing seven Arizona Death Row inmates want information about the drugs used in Florida’s lethal-injection procedure, but corrections officials are asking a judge to keep the documents secret.

From DCF to Pam Bondi, Nothing But Contempt for Florida’s Sunshine Law

| June 30, 2016

It’s been decades since Florida had an elected statewide official who paid much more than lip service to open government, and state and local agencies are taking advantage, showing more contempt than respect for the law, argues Florence Snyder.

Media and Orlando Go to Court Over City’s Censoring of Massacre’s 911 Calls

| June 23, 2016

The city of Orlando wants the court to help determine how to handle the unreleased portions of 911 emergency communications involving the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub.

Public Agencies That Violate Sunshine Law Must Pay Attorney’s Fees, Supreme Court Rules

| April 14, 2016

Justices rejected arguments that agencies should be shielded from paying plaintiffs’ legal fees if public-records requests are handled in “good faith.”

Citing Overreach, Senate Kills Public Record Exemption for Hunters’ Personal Information

| February 18, 2016

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, welcomed the defeat of the bill, which she labeled “the Ted Nugent Act” because of publicity surrounding a bear hunt last year.

More Public Record Exemptions For Gun Owners, This Time For Hunters and Fishermen

| February 10, 2016

People getting hunting, fishing and boating licenses and certificates from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would be shielded from public record disclosures.

For Flagler’s NAACP, More Trust Than Fear of Local Police as Body Cams Clip On

| October 28, 2015

Flagler NAACP members were mostly reassured by use-of-force evidence that, according to the Sheriff’s Office, has declined in Palm Coast, thanks in large part to police body cameras.

Police Body Cams: Exemptions From Public-Record Disclosure Belie Intended Transparency

| September 26, 2015

Police body cams were intended to improve accountability and public access to cops’ work. Access exemptions in Florida and many other states are instead countering their intended purpose.

Rick Scott, 1st-Ever Florida Governor Successfully Sued Over Sunshine Law, Settles for $700,000 in Taxpayer Dollars

| August 8, 2015

The suit alleged Gov. Scott and his staff, violated the Sunshine law when they created email accounts to shield their communications from state public records laws and then withheld the documents.

Reporter Kicked Out: When Public Officials Abuse Florida’s Sunshine Law, With Lawmakers’ Blessing

| July 22, 2015

A “health district” run by public officials closes a public meeting under a bogus exemption to the Sunshine law, and gets a blank check to secretly talk about whatever it wishes, though it affects public policy.

Flagler Court Clerk Throws a Switch, and Mass of Criminal and Civil Records Becomes Accessible Online

| June 16, 2015

Flagler County court records, from arrest affidavits to civil, criminal, county and probate court are now all available online, 24 hours a day, in a vast improvement of public record access ordered by the Florida Supreme Court.

Palm Coast Wants Protection From Extortionist Lawsuits Over Public Record Requests

| May 28, 2015

Palm Coast and the Florida League of Cities are seeking a change in law that would protect local governments from opportunistic groups more individuals who sue governments and companies over public record violations.

Florida Senate Calls For Police Policies on Body Cameras, Addressing Privacy and Data

| April 7, 2015

Body cams are worn by deputies at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Jim Manfre instituted the practice when he took office in 2013 and has been an ardent defender of the cameras.

Senate Panel Easily Clears Bill Granting Secrecy to Top College and University Job Applicants

| February 17, 2015

The Senate Higher Education Committee voted 7-2 to approve the measure (SB 182), which would exempt information about applicants for the jobs of president, provost or dean from the state’s open-records laws.

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