Florida Phoenix by Michael Moline
June 6, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office still has not released public records for a trip that he and 98 people from Florida, including Florida’s three elected Cabinet members, took to Israel in May.
The Florida Phoenix requested the records nearly seven weeks ago. The Phoenix asked on April 16 about how much the May 24-31 expedition would cost taxpayers, what agencies and domestic or overseas groups might be chipping in towards the costs, the governor’s itinerary, and whether any state, federal, or overseas agencies were participating.
Asked Thursday about the status of the Phoenix’s April request, the office said only that it was in receipt of the query and would announce any updates.
That long response time is “absolutely ridiculous and probably a violation of the public records law,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation.
“The [governor’s office] must acknowledge your request promptly and in good faith; it then has a reasonable period of time in which to produce the requested records. ‘Reasonable’ has been defined by the courts as the time it takes to locate the requested records, review for exempt information and provide a copy,” she said. “It should not take seven weeks to produce what on its face is a simple public record request.”