August 26, 2020, 9:03 am
August 25 2020 County Commissioners are not permitted to ban any citizen of Florida from all open meeting when the General Public is notified of Govt issues , and business . Sunshine Laws of Florida Controlling Force .
Offenders have the right to be present during any and all hearings in reference to any discussion of enacting ordinance design . 2nd District Court of Appeals decided ” The City of St Petersburg v. Wright , which invalidated St Petersburg City Ordinance because the Commission,s consideration and discussion was done in violation of the Sunshine Law.
Two weeks ago we told you about Florida’s Sunshine Law, which provides which provides open access to public meetings. All Citizens must be able to attend the meeting .
Last week, in the 2nd District Court of Appeals, the Court decided The City of St. Petersburg v. Wright, which invalidated at St Petersburg City ordinance because the commission’s consideration and discussion of the ordinance was done in violation of the Sunshine Law.
“The purpose of Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law is the protection of the public’s right to be present and to be heard during all phases of enactments by government boards and commissions. Sch. Bd. of Duval Cty. v. Fla. Publ’g Co., 670 So. 2d 99, 101 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996). It functions “to prevent at non-public meetings the crystallization of secret decisions to a point just short of ceremonial acceptance.” Monroe Cty. v. Pigeon Key Historical Park, Inc., 647 So. 2d 857, 860 (Fla.3d DCA 1994) (quoting Town of Palm Beach v. Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473, 477 (Fla.1974)). Section 286.011(1), Florida Statutes (2011), mandates:
All meetings of any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, including meetings with or attended by any person elected to such board or commission, but who has not yet taken office, at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, and no resolution, rule, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such meeting. The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.
The supreme court has observed that the “obvious intent [of the legislature] was to cover any gathering of the members where the members deal with some matter on which foreseeable action will be taken by the board.” Bd. of Pub. Instruction of Broward Cty. v. Doran, 224 So. 2d 693, 698 (Fla. 1969).”
Counties, such as Brevard, which have proximity ordinances (exclusion zones) cannot hold public meetings at places the public (yes, you are the public) cannot access. Action that is taken place in violation of the Sunshine Laws may be voidable.
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Author: Florida Action Committee
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