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Critics claim Florida Gov. Rick Scott is blocking Sunshine transparency laws with public records

10:56 PM, Jun 29, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Florida has one of the broadest public record laws in the country, but critics say Governor Rick Scott is doing everything he can to thwart those laws.

First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Peterson says the Scott Administration -- especially his communication director Brian Burgess -- try to thwart access to public records.

"The fees we are being charged [to access public records] are questionable," she says.

A prime example Peterson cites: a request of Burgess' e-mails for one week. The state charged $784 to gain access to roughly 1,100 documents. Compare that with Alaska, which recently released 24,000 e-mails from former Governor Sarah Palin, at a price of $725.

"The public clearly has the right to know," Peterson says. "The Governor and his staff really work for the public and the public has the right to know what they are doing."

Most of the time when you hear about access to public records being delayed, denied or subject to outrageous fees it, usually involves the media. But in reality, it's not the media that is being taken advantage of, but rather the public, because that's who public record laws are written for.

Peterson says, "The public has a constitutional right to records of government."

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