The Florida Times-Union Editorial
March 18, 2020
Appreciation for the watchdog journalism of The Florida Times-Union has reached a new high following coverage of the attempt to sell JEA.
Secrecy was a big part of the corruption.
So during this annual Sunshine Week, it is appropriate to reflect on the need for open government, not as a special right for journalists but as the right for all citizens to have access.
The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors began Sunshine Week in 2002 in reaction to efforts of some legislators to create many new exemptions to the state’s public records law. It quickly became a national tradition.
While Florida is well known as a bastion of open government, the laws are not as dire as some critics say. At last count, there are 1,159 exemptions to Florida’s open government laws, reports the First Amendment Foundation.
Some of the exemptions are legitimate, like protecting Social Security numbers. Others are redundant, poorly crafted or overly broad.