Florida Open Meetings Law
The Florida Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statute 286 of the Florida code define the law.
Relevant legal cases
- See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA
Here is a list of open meetings lawsuits in Florida. For more information go the page or go to Florida sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)
We do not currently have any pages on open meetings litigation in Florida. To add some see our Sunshine litigation project page.
Proposed open meetings legislation
Here is a list of open meetings legislation for the Florida in 2010:
|HB 551 and SB 1054||Current Status:(Effective 7/1/2010)||
'House Bill 551 and Senate Bill 1054 are joint bills introduced to the Florida State Legislature which would extend the exemption within the Florida Sunshine Law and the Florida Open Meetings Law for complaints and investigations to include complaints and investigations conducted and received at the local and municipal level. The exemption would be applied to all complaints and investigations until the complaints were dismissed or until the allegations were confirmed.
|HB 7085 and SB 2170||Current Status:(Effective 10/1/2010)||
House Bill 7085 and Senate Bill 2170 are joint bills introduced to the Florida State Legislature which would renew the exemption already in place for records and meetings addressing any complaints and allegations made to the Florida Commission on Ethics and Public Trust concerning violations of open records and open meetings laws. The bill would also remove the application of the Florida Open Government Sunset Review Act automatic repeals clause. 
|HB 867 and SB 1838||Current Status:(Died in committee in both houses.)||
House Bill 867 and Senate Bill 1838 is a bill introduced to the Florida State Legislature which would create exemptions for documents and meetings relating to:
|SB 1142 and HB 745||Current Status:(Died in committees in both houses)||
Senate Bill 1142 and House Bill 745 are joint bills introduced to the Florida State Legislature which would extend the current exemption within the Florida Sunshine Law for all bids, proposals and replies received by a public agency in response to a competitive solicitation. The current exemption exempts bid materials until either the public body comes to a final decision on whom to issue the contract to, the public body rejects all proposals and reissues the solicitation or twenty (20) days after the original solicitation, assuming that the haven't reissued the request. The bill would also extend the exemption within the Florida Open Meetings Law for presentations made by bid submitters. The bill proposes to extend this exemption until 2015. It is currently schedule to be automatically repealed under the Florida Open Government Sunset Review Act in 2011. 
Which government meetings are open to the public?
The law states that all meetings of any governmental body where official acts will be taken are public meetings.
What government bodies are subject to the laws?
The act defines government body as all state agencies and the agencies of the subdivisions of the state. 
While the legislature does not fall under the Florida Open Meetings Law it does fall under an applicable constitutional amendment which mandates that the legislature hold meetings open to the public unless the meeting is specifically exempted by statute or the constitution.
The body must provide reasonable notice of all meetings.
Minutes must be recorded at every meeting and they are open to public inspection.
|Common Executive Session Exemptions|
|Personal Privacy(Including Employees)|
|Purchase or Sale of Property|
|Exempt under other laws|
Any body may meet in private with the entity's attorney to discuss present and pending litigation as long as the entity's attorney will be advising the entity concerning settlement negotiations or strategy sessions related to litigation expenditures. The session must be recorded by a certified court reporter. This recording must be made available to the public as an open record at the conclusion of the pending litigation. The public body must still announce closed meetings. Executive sessions must begin at an open meeting. Upon entering the close session, the board must announce the estimated time of the private meeting, and the names of the people attending it. After the attorney-client session is over, the meeting must be reopened.
Other exemptions to the open meetings act include:
- Meetings involving security information
- Negotiations with vendors 
Violations of the open meetings law are punishable by up to a $500 fine. Violations are considered a second degree misdemeanor. The court may also award attorney fees to the individual filing the action or to the public body, if the lawsuit was deemed frivolous. 
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