WFSU News by Margie Menzel

Supporters of open government in Florida had a rough legislative session, with roughly 20 more exemptions to Florida’s once-honored Sunshine Laws.

The state is known for its broad open records and public meeting laws, known as Sunshine Laws. But Florida First Amendment Foundation Director Bobby Block says lawmakers have steadily chipped away at them, especially under Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration.

“It appears to be an almost slavish devotion to the ambitions of Gov. DeSantis,” Block said, “and at the same time a complete disregard for rights of free speech, for rights of information and transparency.”

Barbara Petersen leads the Florida Center for Government Accountability. She figures the Legislature approved 20 exemptions this year.

“That these things are passing with so little discussion or debate — it’s heart-wrenching,” Petersen said. “Because these are not just exemptions to the public records law, but exceptions to our Constitution, because we have a constitutional right to the records and meetings of our government.”

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