Study rates Florida ethics, ‘corruptibility’

Updated: Monday, 19 Mar 2012, 6:35 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 19 Mar 2012, 3:44 PM EDT

TAMPA – Florida received a grade of C-minus, but that was still good enough to tie for 18th best with three other states in a first-of-its-kind assessment of corruptibility released Monday.

The report praises Florida’s open-records and open-meetings “Sunshine” laws.

It faults the state, though, for weak . . . → Read More: Study rates Florida ethics, ‘corruptibility’

Trash and storm clouds in Broward

OUR OPINION: During Sunshine Week, the public’s right to know is once again in peril

BY THE MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL
HERALDED@MIAMIHERALD.COM

As Florida celebrates Sunshine Week and the importance of open government and freedom of information there are some rays of sunshine pushing through the dark clouds of secrecy.

One ray: The Florida Legislature ended its session approving legislation that . . . → Read More: Trash and storm clouds in Broward

Sunshine Week 2012

Sunshine Week was created by journalists. But it’s not just for the press.

It’s also for the public.

This week, journalists around the country are participating in the national initiative to promote discussion about the importance of open government and freedom of information. But freedom of information is a year-round pledge. American journalists promote open government every day, . . . → Read More: Sunshine Week 2012

2 Manatee board members to boycott private meetings

By Christopher O’Donnell

Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 8:59 p.m.

MANATEE COUNTY – An openly bitter dispute between two Manatee County School Board members and Superintendent Tim McGonegal could quickly have financial implications because it leaves the district handicapped in bargaining sessions with local unions.

Facts
MANY PAY CUTS REDUCED

At a special board . . . → Read More: 2 Manatee board members to boycott private meetings

OUR VIEW: Public meetings aren’t courts of law

At a recent St. Johns County Commission meeting on a land-use issue, a request was made by the project’s attorneys to cross-examine citizen speakers about their comments. Wisely, the request was not pursued after a “sidebar” discussion with county officials.

Good for them. This was a rezoning hearing where anyone can comment to the commission before it . . . → Read More: OUR VIEW: Public meetings aren’t courts of law

Citizen power starts with knowledge

ames Madison succinctly described the importance of an informed electorate: “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” This is also a call for government transparency, as only voters informed in how their government works can effectively use the ballot . . . → Read More: Citizen power starts with knowledge

How Public Records Laws Allow the Miami Herald to Serve You

Without open meetings and accessible records, we’d all be in the dark.

BY AMINDA MARQUES GONZALEZ
AMARQUES@MIAMIHERALD.COM

We simply couldn’t tell the stories readers count on us to report without Florida’s public records and open meetings laws, among the strongest in the country.

Our journalists rely on these laws daily, whether attending a municipal meeting or digging out records on . . . → Read More: How Public Records Laws Allow the Miami Herald to Serve You

Sunshine Week: A commitment to open government

Posted: March 8, 2012 | Tags: Sunshine Week

Next week is Sunshine Week, designed to bring attention to the merits and benefits of having an open government. The main sponsors of the week are the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

In some ways, it is bittersweet to have such a celebration. . . . → Read More: Sunshine Week: A commitment to open government

Make a Difference: Support the First Amendment

JOE SAUNDERS’S BLOG | Posted: March 8, 2012 7:20 PM

The First Amendment Foundation has issued an email blast asking supporters to contact legislative leaders to demand passage of a Senate bill that guarantees the right of Floridians to speak at public meetings of their city councils, school boards, county commissions and before any other elected officials.

According to . . . → Read More: Make a Difference: Support the First Amendment

After lost emails flap, public records bill passes

BY GARY FINEOUT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s next governor and other statewide elected officials will have to preserve and make public any documents and emails they send between their election and the time they are officially sworn into office.

The Florida Legislature has unanimously passed a bill that was sparked by the embarrassing deletion of emails sent by . . . → Read More: After lost emails flap, public records bill passes