Exemptions to the Florida Sunshine Laws

 

The state of Florida has some of the most open laws for availability of public records. The Sunshine Laws as we know them were implemented in 1967. These laws have provided the citizens with access to public meetings and records. While these laws have created unparalleled access, there are some exemptions. The exemptions were created in 1995 and given the name “Open Government Sunset Review Act of 1995.”

The legislature has set up three criteria for something to be considered an exemption:
a. The exempted record or meeting is of a sensitive, personal nature concerning individuals;
b. The exemption is necessary for the effective an deficient administration of a governmental program; or
c. The exemption affects confidential information concerning an entity.

Each year, the legislature adds new exemptions to the law. In 2002, 150 exemptions were added to the sunshine laws. In order to curve the number of exemptions the legislature could add to the sunshine laws, Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution was proposed. This would require a two-thirds vote by both chambers of the legislature to create an exemption. This amendment passed by over 75 %.