Let the sun shine in on city government

Let the sun shine in on city government

The Florida Sunshine law s. 286.011, Fla. Stat.; Art. I, s. 24, Fla. Const. also known as “The Sunshine Law” has been in effect since 1967. Its main purpose was to enforce government transparency, to prevent members of legislative bodies from making deals in “smoke filled rooms” behind the peoples back.

That was a laudable purpose.

But 1967 was before a popular internet, before Google and Facebook. While the law has many positive aspects it also has had some negative unintended consequences.

Legislators could no longer meet informally and simply exchange opinions, explore alternatives together and brainstorm. This was clearly not the intent of the law.

Jude Richvale

While I was chairman of the Bonita Springs CAB (Communications Advisory Board) we were subject to the Sunshine law and I could not help but realize its shortcomings in the way it was applied in 2007. Personal communications had grown at stellar speed. Google searches could find answers in seconds. Email was making “snail mail” obsolete. Facebook was starting to addict people with its global (and local) public square. I realized that there may be solutions that were not available in 1967: Internet fora.


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