Florida s Sunshine and Public Records Law. Presented by Dana Crosby-Collier Assistant County Attorney, Orange County

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1 Florida s Sunshine and Public Records Law Presented by Dana Crosby-Collier Assistant County Attorney, Orange County

2 PRESENTATION OUTLINE Two Parts to Florida s Sunshine Law -- Public Meetings/Sunshine law Public Records Law

3 SUNSHINE LAW Legal References Article I, Section 24, Florida Constitution Section , Florida Statutes Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual

4 SUNSHINE LAW General Rule All meetings in which official acts are taken or public business is transmitted are public meetings open to the public at all times.

5 SUNSHINE LAW Who is covered? Local government boards, school boards, special district boards Private companies doing business on behalf of the government agency Advisory boards and committees One person acting on behalf of a board or commission

6 SUNSHINE LAW Applies to meetings of 2 or more members of a board when discussing matters that may foreseeably come before the board Applies to a board member and non-board member (staff) when latter individual is used as a conduit

7 SUNSHINE LAW What are the rules for Sunshine? Reasonable notice of all meetings must be provided Meeting minutes must be taken by the clerk to the board Minutes must be open for public inspection

8 SUNSHINE LAW What does Sunshine mean? The use of a telephone does not remove a conversation from the requirements of law Board members cannot use computers to conduct private discussion regarding board business

9 SUNSHINE LAW When does Sunshine law not apply? Social Events Limited statutory exemptions: Attorney-Client Sessions to discuss settlement negotiations or litigation strategies (s (8), FS) Collective bargaining (internal discussions) (s , FS) Evaluation of claims or offers of compromise of claims filed with Risk Management (s (16), FS)

10 SUNSHINE LAW What are the penalties for a violation? If one violates state law, fined up to $500 If one knowingly violates, charged with a 2 nd degree misdemeanor Fined up to $500 Imprisoned up to 60 days

11 PRESENTATION OUTLINE Sunshine Law Public Records Law

12 PUBLIC RECORDS LAW Legal References Article I, Section 24, Florida Constitution Chapter 119, Florida Statutes Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual

13 PUBLIC RECORDS LAW General Rule Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the transaction of official business by a public body.

14 PUBLIC RECORDS LAW What is a public record? Public records are prepared or created to perpetuate, communicate or formalize knowledge relating to official agency business What is an agency? Agency is any state, county, district, authority, municipality, board, bureau, commission

15 PUBLIC RECORDS LAW A public record includes all documents regardless of physical form or characteristics and is not limited to traditional written documents Letters, s, memos, maps, books, recordings all are public records Public record is a record made or received in connection with transaction of official agency business

16 PUBLIC RECORDS LAW Public records law contains a number of exemptions There is no exemption for unfinished drafts There is an exception for personal correspondence

17 PUBLIC RECORDS LAW Provide board clerk with all public records Clerk will retain records for the time required in a state-established retention schedule is a public record County retains a copy of sent/received through County system Recommend advisory board members establish a separate account for board business only

18 PUBLIC RECORDS LAW What are the penalties for violation? If one violates, fined up to $500 If one knowingly violates, subject to removal from board and may be charged with a 1 st degree misdemeanor

19 Questions?

20 RESOURCES Florida Attorney General s office myfloridalegal.com County Attorney s office: Sunshine Law Dana Crosby-Collier Public Records Law Wanzo Galloway

21 Florida s Sunshine and Public Records Law

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