Government in the Sunshine
“A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” James Madison, 1822.
Florida’s sunshine laws provide for three basic meeting requirements: 1) meetings must be open and accessible to the public; 2) reasonable public notice must be given; and 3) minutes must be taken. According to statute, a meeting is any gathering, whether formal or casual, involving two or more members of the same board, where a matter which will foreseeably come before the board for action is being discussed. This includes any type of exchange between members including letters, phone/voicemail, text, chat, e-mail, the use of an intermediary, internet discussion groups, etc.
Each of us has the opportunity and the right to be involved in the decision making process of our local government officials. To learn more about Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine statutes, visit www.myflsunshine.com.