Today I had the opportunity to meet with Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R-District 1) about various open government issues. Senator Gaetz was joined by his Chief of Staff Chris Clark.
The nearly one hour meeting covered a variety of topics including the rampant disregard for Florida’s Public Records Act by public agencies and state contractors. We discussed specific instances of violations and numerous settled and pending lawsuits. The Senator’s support for FOGWatch’s audits was clearly expressed and greatly appreciated.
During our discussion Senator Gaetz asked me for specific recommendations for ways the Florida Legislature could improve open government statutes (Section 119 and Section 286 of the Florida Statues). He also invited suggestions on how to correct the problem of state contractors that are notorious violators of open government laws. As my readers can imagine I had a number of concrete suggestions.
Near the end of the our meeting Senator Gaetz and his Chief of Staff Chris Clark asked me to stay over in Tallahassee so that I can appear before a Senate Committee On Government Oversight and Accountability and give testimony regarding the abuses of Florida’s Public Records Act and share ideas about improving transparency in Florida. I accepted their kind invitation and will be appearing before the committee at 10:30 tomorrow morning.