Florida’s Sunshine Law

This week is “Sunshine Week” in Florida. Formed in 2005 by the News Leaders Association, the event promotes access to public information. This week Court Clerks and Comptrollers raise public awareness on how Floridians can find and request public records. In the spirit of this week, we present a brief explanation of the Sunshine Law.

The Open Meeting Law, or Sunshine Law, was established in Florida in 1967. It states simply that all meetings held by a state or municipal organization must be open to the public. This law makes binding any rule or action decided upon by an political organization. The minutes of any meeting must be recorded and made available to the public. Because Sumter County is currently dealing with elected officials who allegedly violated the Sunshine Law, an explanation of the penalties is warranted. The following is directly pulled from Florida law s. 286.011:

Any person who is a member of a board or commission or of any state agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision who knowingly violates the provisions of this section by attending a meeting not held in accordance with the provisions hereof is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.