Bill to exempt lawmakers travel from public records?

Bill to exempt lawmakers travel from public records?


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are discussing legislation that could make it harder for people to know what public officials are doing.

On Tuesday, a Senate committee will discuss a bill that would exempt Gov. Ron DeSantis’ travel from public records.


What You Need To Know

  • On Tuesday, a Senate committee will discuss a bill that would exempt Gov. Ron DeSantis’ travel from public records
  • Bill also would apply to travel involving the lieutenant governor, the cabinet and other elected Florida leaders
  • Q & A: What are Florida’s Sunshine Laws

Senate Bill 1616: Public Records/Transportation and Protective Services also would apply to travel involving the lieutenant governor, the cabinet and other elected Florida leaders.

The bill would seem to run contrary to Florida’s reputation as a place where reporters, and curious members of the public, can unearth government data and documents that shed light on the decisions made by elected officials.

Florida’s lawmaking government records open to public inspection dates to 1909, long before similar measures emerged in many other states.

It added a Sunshine Law requiring public meetings in 1967.

Then, in 1992, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a public right to access records and meetings. A decade later, as lawmakers were adding exemptions, voters approved another a constitutional amendment making it harder for legislators to approve future exceptions.

Rep. Alex Andrade, who is sponsoring the bill, said the bill’s creation is over security concerns.

Opponents say it violates Florida’s Sunshine Laws.

The bill applies to future travel but also retroactively to any trips the governor or leaders have taken in the past.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



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