WJCT by Brendan Rivers
March 8, 2019
In response to a recent criminal investigation of several Jacksonville City Council members, the Jacksonville Ethics Commission is asking Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to issue a legal opinion on local ethics commissions’ ability to enforce the state’s Sunshine Laws.
Sunshine Laws are designed to give residents access to government meetings at the state and local level. They also prohibit appointed and elected officials from discussing official business outside of those public meetings. Jacksonville city code also requires local officials to follow those rules.
After State Attorney Melissa Nelson issued a report in February concluding a year-long investigation into potential Florida Sunshine Law violations by Jacksonville City Council members, the Ethics Commission wants to know what it can do.
Nelson found thousands of calls between councilmembers leading up to the 2017 and 2018 elections. The investigation looked into communications between former council president and mayoral candidate Anna Lopez Brosche, councilmen Garrett Dennis, Reggie Gaffney and Sam Newby as well as former council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown.