What is the Scope of the Sunshine Law?
Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, commonly referred to as the Sunshine Law, provides a right of access to governmental proceedings of public boards or commissions at both the state and local levels. The law is equally applicable to elected and appointed boards, and applies 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. There are three basic requirements of s. 286.011, F.S.:
(1) meetings of public boards or commissions must be open to the public;
(2) reasonable notice of such meetings must be given; and
(3) minutes of the meetings must be taken and promptly recorded.
The complete text of the Government in the Sunshine Law and related statutes may be found in Appendix B.
A constitutional right of access to meetings of collegial public bodies is recognized in Art. I, s. 24, Fla. Const. See Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Company v. Magaha, 769 So. 2d 1012, 1021 (Fla. 2000), noting that the Sunshine Law "is of both constitutional and statutory dimension." Virtually all collegial public bodies are covered by the open meetings mandate of this constitutional provision with the exception of the judiciary and the state Legislature, which has its own constitutional provision requiring access. The only exceptions are those established by law or by the Constitution. The complete text of Art. I, s. 24, Fla. Const., may be found in Appendix A of this manual.
The requirements of the Sunshine Law and Art. I, s. 24, Fla. Const., are discussed in detail in Part I. Please refer to the Table of Contents or the Index for a listing of the specific subjects.