May 30, 2017
Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission is considering rules that would undermine public access to its meetings and records.
The proposals represent bad public policy and make a dubious assertion that the 37-member commission can exempt itself from a key provision of the state’s Sunshine Law.
This scheme should be stopped, preferably by the commissioners in their June 6 meeting.
If reason and longstanding applications of the law don’t prevail, the CRC could and should find itself in court.
Litigation would cost money, including taxpayers’ dollars, but the proposed erosion of transparency should not stand without a fight.
The 1997-98 commission’s rules stated: “All proceedings and records of the commission shall be open to the public.” The draft rules of the 2017-18 commission would eliminate the words “proceedings” and “open,” instead requiring only that records be “accessible.”
Commissioner Roberto Martinez smartly proposed that the rules require all proceedings and records of the commission to be both open and accessible. That idea was readily embraced by the working group.
Martinez opposed, for good reasons, the draft rule seeking to allow two CRC members to privately discuss public business likely to come before the commission. [READ MORE]