2018 FAF YEAR-IN-REVIEW

  • FAF January Sunshine Luncheon in Tallahassee Honored FAF 2017 Sunshine Award Winners: Fane Lozman was honored with the Pete Weitzel/Friend of FAF award and Kenneth Weiss received the James C. Adkins/Sunshine Litigation Award.  Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch were honored as the first recipients of the Lucy Morgan Award for Open Government Reporting.
  • FAF goes to the US Supreme Court for the very first time with a friend of the court brief in Lozman v Riviera Beach and WINS in an 8-1 ruling.
  • FAF is honored with the National American Library Eileen Cooke Award for excellence in championing access to government information and the public’s right to know in Washington, D.C.
  • FAF tracks over 113 bills dealing with Sunshine and open government during the 2018 Florida Legislative Session.
  • FAF letter to the City of Tallahassee demanding access to public record text messages on behalf of reporter Jeff Burlew resulted in the city settling its public record lawsuit with the Tallahassee Democrat.
  • Participated in a coalition of organizations monitoring the Constitutional Revision Commission and challenged the CRC for possible sunshine violations.
  • Sold over 800 tickets to our biggest fundraiser to date, Derision 2018 with Carl Hiaasen & Dave Barry in Ft. Lauderdale.
  • Co-sponsored the ONLY televised Florida Attorney General debate with Spectrum Bay News 9 & News 13.
  • Published and distributed over 6,000 copies of the 2018 Florida Sunshine manual.
  • Hosted Orlando fundraising events with Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Gilbert King in May of 2018 and “Cartoonists in the Time of Trump” event featuring Andy Marlette, Dana Summers and Scott Maxwell
  • Hosted over 20 Sunshine Training Sessions this year, with 200+participants crediting 10 CLE’s and 8 CE Credits.
  • FAF President Barbara Petersen served on ACLU‘s Executive Director Search Committee, the only non-ACLU member of the seven-member committee.
  • Headed back to SCOTUS, having joined a coalition that filed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Bartlett in
    Nieves v. Bartlett,

    First Amendment/retaliatory action case similar to that of Mr. Lozman.

  • Filed a Friend of Court brief in support of Maggy Hurchalla who was hit with a $4.4m judgment in a SLAPP suit filed by a developer. FAF has also joined an appeal in a related case involving Hurchalla and the Everglades Law Center who were sued by the South Florida Water Management District when they made a public record request.

Annual Sunshine Manual YEAR-END SALE

All 2018 Government-in-the-Sunshine Manuals must go to make room for our 2019 Edition inventory.
That’s why we are selling all remaining copies for ½ OFF at $10 per manual (actual retail price: $19.95).
Take advantage of this once-a-year offer today —– we know your current copy has got notes and dog-ears all over it.

Please consider giving to FAF before the end of the year:

Although #GivingTuesday is behind us, we are still amid the Giving Season to give to those causes that align with our own interest and values.
Please consider giving to Florida’s First Amendment Foundation and support the ideals that are the bedrock of our democracy:
1.    YOUR constitutional right to oversee and to participate in the governance process
2.    A FREE and TRUSTED press
3.    Government openness and TRANSPARENCY
In the barrage of emails and social media solicitations you’ve undoubtedly received this month, we humbly ask that you consider supporting the First Amendment Foundation this year as we continue to legislate, litigate, and advocate for YOUR right-to-knowAccess to government information is too important to all of us and we cannot compromise.

Protecting Your Right to Know for over 30 years!

The First Amendment Foundation is a highly visible and accessible source of authoritative information, expertise and assistance to the public and news media. Founded as a non-profit organization in 1984 by The Florida Press Association, the Florida Society of Newspapers Editors and the Florida Association of Broadcasters to ensure that public commitment and progress in the areas of free speech, free press, and open government do not become checked and diluted during Florida’s changing times.

“Florida’s Sunshine Laws guarantee our right to open government, but government officials can get downright creative to keep their decision-making in the dark. Like the state agency that demanded $3,200 to copy a single page of a public record, or the city commissioner who accidentally dropped her government phone in the toilet after a reporter asked her to see her text messages. And of course, you, the taxpayer footed the $1.3 million legal tab to keep our Governor and his cabinet out of court over secret emails. Fortunately, we have the Florida First Amendment Foundation fighting on our side. I urge you to support the First Amendment Foundation and keep Florida government by the people, for the people and in the Sunshine.”

 

Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald columnist and author of Skin Tight, Strip Tease, Skinny Dip, Nature Girl, Star Island,Bad Monkey, Razor Girl and many more.

The purpose of the First Amendment Foundation is to protect and advance the public’s constitutional right to open government by providing education and training, legal aid and information services. Funding is based on voluntary contributions from various organizations and concerned individuals.

“You know, the critical research of my book would not have been possible without access granted by law via Florida’s longstanding Open Government laws. Without Sunshine, stories like the injustice I uncovered in Central Florida could not have come forward. The Florida First Amendment Foundation has been protecting your citizen right to know for the past 31 years. Support the First Amendment Foundation. Support Open Government. It pays dividends.”

 

Gilbert King, February 2016. Pulitzer Prize winning author of Devil in the Grove Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America

Our actions get results. In the past year, we led a broad coalition of open government advocates and defeated a bill that would have made it harder to hold agencies accountable for public records violations. In dozens of courthouses and government offices around the country, citizens – with FAF’s help – won access to the records and meetings.

Still, our job has never been more challenging and, with your help, we will continue to fight efforts to erode Florida’s long-standing tradition of open government.

Find out more about the First Amendment Foundation.

 

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