Fox4 by Jane Monreal
April 27, 2021
Journalists are not the only ones who look to public documents to get answers. As taxpayers, it is the fundamental right to have access to public records. There are several reasons why people should care about their rights to public records.
Lee County Clerk of Court’s Linda Doggett says, “Let’s say you’re picking a doctor or someone to do work on your house, somewhere you’re going to spend a lot of money or, put your life in somebody’s hands. You could do a quick search on court records to see if there are lawsuits or malpractice suits or anything like that.”
Doggett suggests every homeowner to look at their property records regularly to make sure fraudulent situations are not affecting ownership. On the Lee County website, you can file your property and get an alert if anything is filed on your property.
Virginia Hamrick from First Amendment Foundation says, “People should know we are a government for, by, and of the people. And, a lot of times, this is information that is about our schools. It’s about the services provided to the public. It’s information that the public could use to hold your government officials accountable.”
Florida has a pretty wide open records law, as stated in Florida statute 119. Passed in 1909, it is written, “It is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Providing access to public records is a duty of each agency.”