sunshine manual

As ‘Sunshine Week’ begins, Florida’s attorney general silent about DeSantis public record delays

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody commemorates “National Sunshine Week” by reminding Floridians about the state’s open meeting and public record laws, Moody has remained mum about Gov. Ron DeSantis delaying the release of some public records by weeks or months.

Hundreds of public records requested by citizens and journalists from state agencies such as the Florida Department of Corrections and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have been forwarded to the governor’s office for “review,” documents recently uncovered by News 6 revealed.

Some of those records remained with DeSantis and his legal team for more than nine months before being returned to the originating state agencies, according to a log used by the governor’s staff.

“Whether its intentional or not, it has the obvious effect of unreasonably delaying the constitutional right of access to public records,” said Michael Barfield, the director of public access at the Florida Center for Government Accountability, a watchdog organization that advocates for transparent government.

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Moody has positioned herself as a champion of Florida’s open government laws.

“The Attorney General’s Office has consistently sought to safeguard Florida’s pioneering Government-in-the-Sunshine laws,” Moody’s official government website states. “Our attorneys have worked, both in the courtroom and out, to halt public records violations.”

Nearly every year since being sworn in as Florida’s attorney general in 2019, Moody has issued news releases on her state website recognizing “National Sunshine Week,” an initiative launched by the News Leaders Association to promote open government.

“Open government laws are a vital tool in making sure citizens know how their tax dollars are being spent and how the people they elected to represent them are performing their duties,” Moody said in a 2019 news release.

“Our state’s public meetings and public

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