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13 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 705 (1985-1986)
A Return to Sunshine: Florida Sunsets Open Government Exemptions

handle is hein.journals/flsulr13 and id is 715 raw text is: A RETURN TO SUNSHINE: FLORIDA SUNSETS OPEN
The Sunshine State has consistently been a national leader in
the area of open government. Throughout this century, Florida has
set the pace for other states by enacting and refining its open
records1 and open meetings2 laws, which are designed to enhance
public faith in government. This pioneer image, however, has be-
come tainted over the years by a preoccupation with finding excep-
tions to the rule.
During the 1985 Regular Session, the Florida Legislature put the
finishing touches on an open government renaissance. In 1984, the
decision had been made to review periodically and subsequently
repeal all exceptions to the open government laws. The legislature
refined this process with the passage of the Open Government
Sunset Review Act of 1985.1
This Article summarizes the history of open government in Flor-
ida as well as the events which led to the decision to apply the
sunset concept to open government exemptions. A detailed analy-
sis of the 1984 and 1985 legislative enactments is provided. Finally,
the authors offer some conclusions regarding the perceived effect of
this legislation on the future of open government in Florida.
Florida's Government in the Sunshine law was enacted by the
1967 legislature, the first to meet since porkchop politics went
into decline as a result of reapportionment. The statute mandated
that all meetings of any state, county, or municipal board or com-
*Senior partner, Roberts, Baggett, LaFace & Richard, Tallahassee, Florida. University of
Miami, A.B., 1964; J.D., 1967. Member, Florida House of Representatives, 1974-78. Cur-
rently, representative for the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of Newspa-
per Editors.
**Candidate for the degree Juris Doctor, Florida State University College of Law.
1. FLA. STAT. §§ 119.01-.12 (1983).
2. FLA. STAT. § 286.011 (1983).
3. Ch. 85-301, § 1, 1985 Fla. Laws 1879, 1880 (to be codified at FLA. STAT. § 119.14).
4. Comment, Exemptions To The Sunshine Law And The Public Records Law: Have
They Impaired Open Government In Florida?, 8 FLA. ST. U.L. REv. 265, 267 (1980). The
term porkchop politics refers to the control of the Florida Legislature by legislators from
the rural, conservative sections of Florida. A. MoRRIs, THE FLORIDA HANDBOOK 133 (20th
biennial ed. 1985-86).

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