Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, commonly referred to as the Sunshine Law, provides a right of access to governmental proceedings at both the State and local levels. The law is equally applicable to elected and appointed Boards and has been applied to any gathering of two or more members of the same Board to discuss some matter which will foreseeably come before that Board for action. The Sunshine Law establishes a basic right of access to most meetings of Boards, commissions and other governing bodies of state and local governmental agencies or authorities to prevent members of a government Board from secretly dealing with public business.
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Special Districts are forms of local government created by the State, County, and Municipalities in order to provide a specific service or services to a defined area. Special Districts are often referred to as special-purpose governments, since the law authorizes them to provide only those services specifically defined in their enabling legislation. Conversely, the State, County and Municipal governments are called general-purpose local governments and are not specifically limited in what services they can provide to their residents.
The reason for Special District creation is to provide the permanent administrative structure for financing and maintaining services or infrastructure traditionally provided by general-purpose governments when these governments are unwilling or unable to provide the service or capital improvement. Consequently, Special Taxing Districts are frequently substituting and/or complementing the capabilities of general-purpose governments. For instance, Special Districts provide water management in multi-county jurisdictions, public infrastructure in new developments, streetlights to neighborhoods without them and fire protection for Cities and Counties.
Learn about how a Special District is organized on the Special District Organization page.
Public agencies are allowed to adopt reasonable rules and regulations which ensure the orderly conduct of a public meeting and which require orderly behavior on the part of the public attending. This includes limiting the amount of time an individual can speak and, when a large number of people attend and wish to speak, requesting that a representative of each side of the issue speak rather than everyone present.
Reasonable public notice is required for all meetings subject to the Sunshine Law. The type of notice which must be given depends on the facts of the situation and the Board involved. In some instances, posting of the notice in an area set aside for that purpose may be sufficient; in others, publication in a local newspaper may be necessary. In either case an agency must give notice at such time and in such a manner as will enable the media and the general public to attend the meeting.
There are three basic requirements of Chapter 286011, Florida Statutes:
Public Records Law states:
Every person who has custody of a public record shall permit the record to be inspected and examined by any person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision by the custodian of the public record or the custodian's designee. The custodian shall furnish a copy or a certified copy of the record upon payment of the fee prescribed by law; and for all other copies, upon payment of the actual cost of duplication of the record.