Commentary: Legislative mixer at wine and cigar bar for elected officials could thwart Sunshine law

Orlando Sentinel by Lauren Ritchie

April 16, 2018

In a lapse of judgment, the Chamber Alliance of Lake County is inviting members to a private “Lake Legislative Mixer” for all elected Lake County officials at a wine and cigar bar in Tavares.

The state’s open meetings law doesn’t prohibit elected officials from socializing, provided they do not discuss matters of public business. But that doesn’t make this June 13 gathering a smart idea.

Ask yourself: What will this disparate group of folks who don’t know one another discuss, the lousy weather up North? How the kids are doing at Florida State? Their latest two-week vacation to Cozumel?

Barbara Petersen, president of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation, gave the plan an unhappy squint: “What’s the point of a private event — just to talk about their golf games?”

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