Open Government Questions for Candidates: 2016 Election
Please click here for a PDF version of the Candidate Questions.
Florida has some of the oldest and most progressive open government laws in the country and the public’s right of access to the records and meetings of its government are protected in the state constitution.
Q: How familiar are you with Florida’s sunshine and public record laws?
In Florida, there is a presumption of openness, meaning that all records and meetings are presumed open to the public absent a specific statutory exemption. Only the Legislature can create exemptions to the the records and meetings of government. During the 2016 legislative session, an exemption for trade secrets was expanded to include financial information, including the amount government pays its contractors.
Q: Do you think the amount of money government pays its contractors should be secret?
Q: Are there government records currently subject to disclosure that you believe should be exempt?
Our open meetings law applies to any discussion of public business between two or more members of the same board or commission. Additionally, the law requires that members of the public be given a reasonable opportunity to speak on any issue coming up for a vote. Some elected officials have complained that the open meetings law hampers their ability to govern and makes our government less efficient.
Q: Do you agree that Florida’s open government law makes government less efficient?
The definition of “public record” is quite broad, and includes text messages and emails that relate to public business, even if sent or received on a personal communication device.
Q: If elected, will you use available technologies that will ensure that all public record text messages and emails are maintained in a manner that facilitates public access?
If elected to office, you will be required to take an oath upholding Florida’s laws and constitution, including our open government laws.
Q: As a candidate, would you be willing to take the First Amendment Foundation’s open government pledge?