Florida celebrates access to public records

BY The South Florida Sun Sentinel

Florida celebrates its commitment to “sunshine” in government this week, and for good reason. Laws to ensure the public’s right to inspect government documents were enacted more than 100 years ago, and were subsequently cemented into our constitution in 1992. As citizens, we have a right to know what decisions our government officials are making and, beyond that, a responsibility to stay informed on issues affecting our lives and our wallets.

This open access to records is not just mandated by law and the constitution, it is also built into the structure of our local government. In 1838, the framers of Florida’s constitution foresaw the importance of having an independent guardian of the public’s records. Court records, mortgages, deeds and county meeting and finance records are processed and held by the clerk and comptroller to ensure their safety and integrity. You are entitled to easy and unfettered access to information such as the cost of county projects and other expenses, how commissioners voted on an issue, foreclosure and criminal case records, and marriage licenses dating back to 1909 — all of which are available online at mypalmbeachclerk.com or at locations throughout Palm Beach County.