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Florida’s Public Records Act Vol. 3 – Can an Agency say No?

Can an Agency say No to a Public Records Request?

The short answer is rarely, if ever, can an agency say “no” to a public records request. The only real constraints or limitations that a person should face when asking to inspect or copy public records are guided by Section 119.07(1)(a), Florida Statutes. This statute limits inspection or copying to “any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision.” Otherwise, there should be no denial of a public record to anyone with a few caveats. First and foremost, the request has to be for an actual public record, not just any document. Although there are several points that could be made here, just a few are discussed below.

Florida’s Public Records Act Vol. 2 – Who has to abide by the Public Records Act?

Who has to abide by the Public Records Act?

An “agency” is defined fairly clearly by Section 119.011(2), Florida Statutes. Essentially it is any unit of state or local government and any public or private entity, i.e., person, partnership, corporation, etc., acting on behalf of any public agency. Some of the entities included within this definition are pretty obvious, but whether an entity is acting on behalf of the a public agency can be a bit tricky at times.

Florida’s Sunshine Law Vol. 2 – Who and what does it cover?

Who and what does the Florida Sunshine Law cover?

Florida’s Sunshine Law promotes the state’s policy towards open government. In fact, it is required by Article I, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution. Does the open policy apply to every government entity in Florida, does it apply to all members of the government, its agencies, etc., and does it cover every type of meeting? The Sunshine Law applies to “any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation or political subdivision.” Section 286.011, Florida Statutes. Notice that the Sunshine Law applies to state, county, municipal or political subdivisions; it does not apply to federal agencies or federal entities of any type.

Florida’s Sunshine Law Vol. 1 – What is Florida’s Sunshine Law?

What is Florida’s Sunshine Law?

Florida has a long history of openness dating back to at least 1909 when the “Public Records Law” (Chapter 119, Florida Statutes) was passed. Since that time, Florida has enacted several laws and amended the Florida Constitution to ensure openness in the government. One important part of these statutes is Florida’s “Sunshine Law” (Chapter 286, Florida Statutes). So how far does this openness go and what type of openness does it provide?

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