Former Town Attorney shows how 119’s should be answered

Attorney Fred Koberlein responded to a Florida Statute 119 request in which I was asking for any information relating to Florida Statute 286.0114 and the Town of White Springs.
Here is his response.
Reply To: Lake City Office

Joe Griffin
Via email: god4joe@windstream.net
RE:   “119 on Florida Statute 286.0114”

Mr. Griffin:
The email referenced above which was sent by you has been interpreted as a request for
“… any sheet of paper that confirms or dictates that the town is or has adopted rules to comply
with [section 286.0114, Florida Statutes.”.

The Town of White Springs does not possess any records that reflect adoption of rules
post-enactment of section 286.0114, Florida Statutes. Section 286.0114 was enacted after Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Senator Negron, was passed during the 2013 legislative session. Senate Bill 50 has such an interesting history that I thought you would be interested in the legislative history. The legislative history can be found online, through the following link: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bills/2015 . You will need to change the session to the 2013 session.

Prior to the introduction of SB 50, the majority of public bodies allowed for public
comment, however, two district courts of appeal, ruled that citizens did not have an express
right to be heard. Senate Bill 50 was introduced shortly after the two courts’ rulings. Now,
with section 286.0114 codified there exists a law that expressly mandates that the public will
have a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before a board or commission.
As you know from being a citizen of the Town, the Town has allowed the public a
reasonable opportunity to be heard for years. Usually the opportunity is just after the roll call
of meetings and referenced to as “citizens from the floor”. It is often written on Agendas. Like
many local governments, the Town did not need to adopt rules after section 286.0114 was
enacted because like many other local government bodies, the Town has allowed the public a
reasonable opportunity to speak at meetings for many years.

If this response does not relate to the records you are seeking please provide clarification
and we will expedite a response ahead of subsequent requests for records.

Thank you,

Frederick L. Koberlein, Jr.

 

My response to Mr. Koberlein’s kind letter is as follows:
According to FS 286.0114, by my layman’s reading of the statute, the chance to comment MUST BE MADE FOR EVERY PROPOSITION, “a proposition”, brought before the council not just at the beginning of the meeting BEFORE any propositions are brought up.
I fail to see where opening the floor to discussion on any and all propositions would cause any harm to the council. Neu v. Miami Herald says that “Every thought as well as every act of a public employee in the performance of his public duties is what so interests the public and it is the entire decision making process that the legislature intended to act on the statute before us. (FS 286.011).”

Thanks for your complete answer to my 119 request. Please consider my thoughts on the matter presented and use your powers of persuasion to affect the SOP if you feel so inclined.

Thanks again.

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