May 10, 2016 – Kenneth Tinkler
If you are considering locating—or relocating—your business to Florida, and are interested in applying for an economic incentive, you should be aware of Florida’s Public Records and Sunshine Law, which provides that certain records must be made available to the public. The law has two aspects: 1) the Public Records Act (ch. 119, Fla. Stat); and 2) the Sunshine/Open Meetings Law (§ 286.011, Fla. Stat.). Although specific statutory exemptions apply to economic incentive applications, none of those exemptions apply to the Sunshine/Open Meetings Law.
1. Public Records
Florida’s public records law applies to all documents and other materials, regardless of form, that are made or received by a government agency either pursuant to a law or ordinance, or in connection with official business. For purposes of the Public Records Law, a government agency includes not only government itself but also any public or private entity or person acting on government’s behalf. Florida courts have interpreted the term “public records” to include documents used by or relied on by the government agency while transacting official business even when the agency neither made nor received the records. Unless a specific statutory exemption applies, any person is entitled to inspect or obtain copies of any public record without regard to the purpose of or motives for the request. [READ MORE]