As a resident of Florida, you have a right to know what is going on in the state government. Did you know that you are able to request, read and review matters of government meetings and official business held by government agencies?
Public records are available to anyone who wants to learn more information. This holds the government responsible and accountable for decisions they have made that directly influence your property and rights.
What is the Florida Sunshine Law?
Found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Sunshine Law provides the public with confidential access to matters including commission meetings, board meetings and records involving local government authorities and agencies.
Florida has enacted public policy ensuring that all records are available to the public since the late 1800s. According to the Florida Bar, public records include the following:
- Books and photographs
- Tapes and sound recordings
- Data processing software
Whenever official business is conducted by a state agency, the recordings, notes and material connected to that business is a matter of public record.
Are all records available to the public?
Although the Florida Sunshine Law allows for public record access, not all documents are available to the public. Exemptions to the law include any records that involve the safety and security of a building or property. Furthermore, the value of a piece of land, appraisals, offers and counteroffers are exempt as well.
Any agency that does not abide by the law to make appropriate records accessible by the public may face a fine and other penalties.