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A history of the Florida Sunshine Law

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2020 | County And Local Government Assistance | 0 comments

One of the most enduring traits of government in the State of Florida is how open it is. In order to maintain this openness, the Attorney General’s office in Florida publishes the Government-in-the-Sunshine manual every year, which is a guide to the Florida state government.

Florida has a long history of open government. According to the Office of the Attorney General of Florida, the roots of the Sunshine Law began in 1909 when the Florida Congress passed the Public Records Law.

When did Florida enact the modern Sunshine Law?

Florida’s Congress voted the modern Sunshine Law into existence in 1967. The modern law is in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes. What these do is ensure that Floridians have basic access rights to most governing bodies at either the state or local level.

Overall, Florida’s courts at all levels have robustly supported the right of the public to access governmental meetings and records. They have also defined and redefined what exactly a public record is and what Florida’s open meetings law actually covers.

Is the Sunshine Law in Florida’s Constitution?

Yes. The government of Florida is very concerned with maintaining the transparency of its processes. This is why the government added an amendment guaranteeing continued openness in the government in 1992.

In addition to having a presence in the Florida Constitution, the commitment to governmental openness is in the constantly updated definition of what constitutes “open government.” Not only did the constitutional amendment secure the Sunshine Law’s place in Florida law, but it also expanded the definition of open government to the judiciary.