Barbara A. Petersen, President

Barbara A. Petersen, President First Amendment Foundation

Barbara Petersen is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Florida State University College of Law. She has been president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation since 1995, and was previously a staff attorney for the Joint Committee on Information Technology Resources of the Florida Legislature, where she worked exclusively on public records legislation and issues. Petersen served as chair of Florida’s Commission on Open Government Reform, and was appointed by Senate President Don Gaetz to a government transparency task force.  Petersen currently serves on the boards of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, and Citizens for Sunshine.  A passionate advocate of the public’s right to oversee its government, she has provided open government training to thousands of government officials, public employees, citizen action organizations, and reporters across Florida.

Katherine Garner, Executive Director

Katherine Garner, Executive Director Katherine Garner is the First Amendment Foundation’s Executive Director. She previously worked for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas for 15 years, serving as FOIFT executive director from 2001 – 2009. Garner serves as secretary of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and has her own nonprofit consulting firm that manages other small nonprofit organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business journalism from University of North Texas and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas with emphasis in business and nonprofit management and communications.

Sheila Harris, Administrative Assistant



  • Pingback: Florida Public Records Law « Florida Society of News Editors

  • William C. Dunn

    The Florida legislature has companion bills pending (HB 713 & SB 692) that would make the Florida Engineering Society (FES) the exclusive Board Nominating Committee for new appointments to the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. FES is not popular among engineers and represents only about 10% (mostly inactive) of Florida professional engineers. They are a very secretive organization and will resist any assertion that they are subject to the Sunshine law. Currently the Governor may appoint anyone that he chooses to the engineering board and that political process may need to change. An open government process similar to the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) would be better than what is in these bills.

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