At least two of us, one who is supposed to get alerts as a part of their job, stopped getting legislative alerts. And it was reported that others failed to get them also.
What is known is that the Department of Highway Safety will meet Wednesday. About what we do not yet know. Wed. ends the 72 hour period of silence at which time some sort of vote will have to be taken as I understand it.
So tomorrow we will be on the phone (which we were today to hear "I don't know) again.
With any luck this paragraph from the Tallahassee Democrat:
The House abandoned an earlier attempt to raid a transportation trust fund and agreed with the Senate instead to take $190 million from a state housing trust fund. More than $300 million will come from a series of other trust funds that have yet to be named.is referencing the Motorcycle money. However it has been reported that the DUI money was/is also in play.
In the meantime food we ran across while searching for the legislatures failure to provide the legislative updates and why some of the ones I did receive are in direct contradiction to what the websites post:
12. Are there exemptions to the Sunshine Law?
The Legislature has enacted more than 200 exemptions to the Sunshine Law, passing new exemptions almost every yet. Exemptions are listed in the Government-in-the-Sunshine Amendment, Section 24. Also see A Citizen’s Guide, page 10.
One visit to the website of the Florida Legislature and you’ll notice that its branded with the label “online sunshine” - a homage to Florida’s sunshine laws, specifically the passage of a constitutional amendment in 1992 granting the public access to records and meetings of state and local government.
There is a nifty little loophole - the legislature can decide for itself that certain records and meetings are exempt. http://floridanetroots.com/?p=81
Constitution of the state of Florida
(c) This section shall be self-executing. The legislature, however, may provide by general law passed by a two-thirds vote of each house for the exemption of records from the requirements of subsection (a) and the exemption of meetings from the requirements of subsection (b), provided that such law shall state with specificity the public necessity justifying the exemption and shall be no broader than necessary to accomplish the stated purpose of the law. The legislature shall enact laws governing the enforcement of this section, including the maintenance, control, destruction, disposal, and disposition of records made public by this section, except that each house of the legislature may adopt rules governing the enforcement of this section in relation to records of the legislative branch. Laws enacted pursuant to this subsection shall contain only exemptions from the requirements of subsections (a) or (b) and provisions governing the enforcement of this section, and shall relate to one subject.
(d)All laws that are in effect on July 1, 1993 that limit public access to records or meetings shall remain in force, and such laws apply to records of the legislative and judicial branches, until they are repealed. Rules of court that are in effect on the date of adoption of this section that limit access to records shall remain in effect until they are repealed.
From representative Dan Gelberg
for Senate Blog
But there are two things that also need to be said:
First, the legislature has largely exempted themselves from much of Florida's sunshine laws, and has increasingly exploited that exemption. Too many decisions and negotiations are made without a single reporter present. Every editorial board in the state should demand much needed changes in the practice of the legislature. In a letter and testimony before the Governor’s Commission on Open Government I recommended five easy changes the legislature could adopt that would remedy much of our shortcomings. (see "Let the Sunshine In" posted 2/14/08) If the legislature refuses to govern itself, then you should lead a campaign with citizen groups to bring the Florida legislature under the full sweep of the Sunshine Law in exactly the same manner that local officials are required to comply. It is not easier to govern in the sunshine, but it is most definitely better.
Second, having world class sunshine laws doesn’t do any good if no one is there to watch. I understand that in tough times fiscal pressures on news organizations are the same as on state government. Cuts have to be made. But I voted against the state budget cuts because I believed there were other ways than to cut core service in education and health care. And nearly every editorial board in Florida agreed. Similarly, I worry that as your most veteran and savvy reporters accept early retirement and buy outs, and your staffing is curtailed, that ultimately it will be the core service of reporting about government that will suffer.
I appreciate that it may be presumptuous to preach to you about how to manage your own operations, but I would be remiss if I didn't use this opportunity and this forum to make the case that transparency in government is only important if someone is watching. Please keep watching.Add to Technorati Favorites