Ethics, Public Records, and Government in the Sunshine Law

If you are a State of Florida  public educational institution, whether a university, college or school district, and including  public charter school, or work for one of these institutions, you need to be aware of the public records, government in the sunshine and ethical requirements that apply.  And, many vendors that do business in Florida with Public educational entities also need to be aware of  requirements that can apply to vendors. We have significant experience with the state ethics requirements and Florida ethics laws, and the Public Records and Government in the Sunshine laws.  Mr. Woodring has provided legal advice on these topics at the highest levels of Florida government, and has litigated significant cases covering these legal areas.

Florida has one of the broadest public records laws, Chapter 119, Florida Statues, and open government or Government in the Sunshine Laws, Chapter 286, in the country. Even so at last count, there are over a 1,000 exemptions from the public records laws, and this does not count the situations in which the state law may be trumped by a federal requirement. These laws apply to all state educational institutions, and to public charter schools as well. They will in some circumstances also apply to educational vendors. Depending on the merits, we will represent both individuals and businesses attempting to obtain public records, and governmental agencies and entities responding to public records requests.

The Government in the Sunshine Law requirements relate to when meetings need to be open and noticed, and when members of a governmental body can discuss a matter outside of a noticed meeting. We will challenge or defend actions on behalf of clients as being conducted according to the government in the sunshine laws, depending on the merits of the case. If a governmental entity has not followed the Government in the Sunshine requirements, actions they have taken in violation of the sunshine requirements may be void.

Please talk to us if you need counsel on an ethical matter or need to prosecute or defend a case under the Public Records or Government in the Sunshine laws. Under some situations a prevailing party may be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees.