Santa Sosa’s Press Gazette by The Daytona Beach News-Journal
June 20, 2019
The jury’s still out on whether Gov. Ron DeSantis will do a better job of protecting open government and public records than his predecessor.
Former Gov. Rick Scott, it should be remembered, was famous for skirting public records law. Even as he took office, his transition staff announced that all his email had been accidentally deleted. Oops. He used a private email account in an attempt to keep public records secret and then foreswore using email at all. In 2015, he settled seven open-records lawsuits for $700,000 (more than half of that money came out of Department of Environmental Protection’s budget).
And each year when the Legislature passed new exceptions to the Sunshine Law, Scott’s signature could be counted on.
This means that enjoying a better reputation for open government and public records transparency shouldn’t prove difficult for DeSantis.
So far, his record is skimpy and mixed. The Florida Cabinet’s meeting in Israel raised eyebrows and attracted an unsuccessful court challenge. DeSantis dismissed the lawsuit as “frivolous” but it raised legitimate concerns about his commitment to the spirit of the law.