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"A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both."
- Pres. James Madison August 4, 1822

Freedom of Information

Do you know what information the government must make available to you? Did you know that freedom of information laws exist that explain what and how you can access this information? If you answered no to both these questions, you are not alone. Many citizens are unaware of all of their rights when it comes to the types of information they can access from both their federal and local governments.

Freedom of Information (FOI) laws have been in place in most states for over a century. While each state’s law varies, the principle behind the laws is the same: to allow citizens access to government records and information. After all, government records are created by people on public payrolls paid for by the taxpayers. Therefore, the records belong to the people, not the government. FOI also refers to the people’s right to participate in the government’s decision-making processes by attending official government meetings.

Of the state laws, Florida's freedom of information laws are some of the strongest in the country. Florida's Public Records and Open Meetings Laws can be valuable tools for journalists, students and concerned citizens with the proper knowledge of how to use them.

This website will focus on Florida's freedom of information laws, attempting to explain the history and how people can put the law to work for them. It will also show the benefits of having such access. For further information, the resouces page contains numerous links about not only Florida's laws, but also federal and other state's laws.



© 2004 Courtney A. Rick

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