Florida’s constitution guarantees us a right of access to the records and meetings of our government and says that only the legislature can create exemptions to the right of access. The constitution also contains a standard for the creation or expansion of exemptions, requiring that each exemption bill contain a specific statement of public necessity and that the exemption be no broader than its stated purpose. As the only organization in Florida dedicated to preserving and protecting the state’s open government laws, the First Amendment Foundation tracks all open government legislation as it makes its way through the legislative process – we usually have over 100 bills on our tracking list each legislative session. Most of the bills we track would limit the right of access by creating new exemptions or expanding those already on the books. Unfortunately, we rarely see legislation designed to enhance our open government laws.
Prior to the start of the annual legislative session, the Foundation prepares an extensive analysis and review of all open government bills for its members. The pre-session report is posted to the FAF website and a link to the report is sent out through our social media pages. As the session starts, we provide our members with a weekly report on the legislative activity each Friday. If a particular bill or amendment needs attention, good or bad, we send out a legislative alert with a short analysis of the bill and specific information about the bill’s merits or FAF’s concerns. We end each session with a final legislative report explaining each bill that passed and its effect on the right of access. All FAF reports are also posted on our website and shared through social media.
If you’d like to be on FAF’s legislative distribution list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.