Sunlight Weekly Round-up: Florida accidentally deletes public records


Whether it is a top-down issue or the other way round, we can not help but notice a disconnect between what Florida’s Governor — Rick Scott preaches and what he practices. Earlier this year, one of his top aides avoided using emails, because they create a paper trail. And the mixed messages ranging from designing Florida Has a Right to Know , to imposing fees on public records that were previously free, are not helping.

  • A private company that provided e-mail services for Governor Rick Scott’s transitional administration “accidentally” deleted all emails from the Florida governor-elect’s office soon after he took office. Peter Schorsch is wondering whether this was a genuine accident considering the governor’s disregard for open government laws. See how he equates it to the ‘dog ate my homework’ situation on SaintPetersblog.
  • The city of Laurel in Maryland has amended their background check law on all candidates vying for city council office. After consulting with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the city’s mayor Craig Moe, said the original law was meant to increase transparency to the election process but now feels that conducting a background check could be considered discriminatory. Gordon Basichis notes one plausible aspect of the amendment law; which is the immediate removal from office, of anyone convicted of a crime while in office. Read on at Corra Daily Planet.
  • Campaign finance laws in Fulton County, Georgia could soon see some change. A resolution created to stop any corporation, officer, agent or individual making campaign contributions or gifts from seeking county contracts, is under consideration by the county’s Board of Commissioners. Already proposed in Indiana, and found problematic in Colorado, the new resolution seeks to regulate conduct of campaign financing and contributions. Stefan Passantio is screaming “fire” about this “pay-to-play” ordinance so head on over to the Pay to Play Law blog to see why.
  • Citizens in New Mexico will now be able to access complaints against police officers under a new ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. Alicia Feichtmeir, an attorney in litigation and dispute resolution shares that information contained in the citizens’ complaints belong to the citizen in question regardless of whether or not the allegations made a true or false. See how she compares this ruling to the Washington’s Public Record’s Act on Local Open Government Blog.
  • John Knutsen a Puyallup, Washington Councilmember was awarded a key award by the Washington Coalition for Open Government for opting out of informal discussions that happen outside of the scheduled council meetings. The informal meetings, also known as rolling meetings are used by some councilmembers in groups of two to three to discuss official issues, without the burden of notifying the public. For more on how open government supporters are praising the Councilmember’s action as a transparency effort, see Puyallup NOW.