Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No Sunshine

What types of meetings are covered? The Sunshine Law applies to all functions of covered agencies, boards, and commissions, whether formal or informal, which relate to their affairs and duties. The Sunshine Law also applies when an individual has been delegated the authority to act on behalf of or make recommendations to a public entity. However, when an individual has only been delegated the authority to gather information, the Sunshine Law does not apply. The Sunshine Law prohibits meetings between a member of a public body and an individual who is not a member when that individual is being used as a liaison between, or to conduct a de facto meeting of, other members of the public entity.

Florida Sunshine Law

The law applies when a public notice is handed to the press and when board members meet. Two individuals meeting is not covered by the Sunshine law. Someone needs to remind Secretary of State Sue Cobb of the law.

Sunshine Week started off with the slamming of the secretary of state's door Monday, when Leon County Commissioner Bob Rackleff and news reporters were shut out of an announced public meeting on county voting issues.

"I've always said I have no objection to the press, but we do make faster progress without people having to look at cameras - that's a fact," said Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb.

Sending invitations and not letting the public see the meeting is not only rude. It's illegal.

This kicks it off with a bang," said Adria Harper, director of The First Amendment Foundation. "The public was invited and now they are being told they can't attend, and in the middle of Sunshine Week. It's almost an ironic tragedy that it is occurring."

Keeping the meeting closed might have something to do with Ion Sancho and the Leon County Diebold scandal.


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