FAQ about SAC & Sunshine Laws & Public Records

   
NEW!!  FL DOE SAC Frequently Asked Questions (3 pages, all topics)

 

    Short Synopsis of Sunshine & SAC Meetings

 

    Sunshine Law Memos / Interpretations
      File a complaint through FL Attorney General website
      Attorney General Complaint form
   

SAC & Sunshine Law Questions

1.

How does a SAC member abstaining from a vote or leaving a meeting prior to a vote, effect quorums and voting?
If the SAC member leaves during the meeting, is not present for votes and the meeting is no longer a quorum (51%), then no decision may be made.  A SAC member may abstain from voting if there is personal gain (like a vote to pay for "x" which is the SAC member's company, then they have a personal gain)

2.

May the principal use his secretary or Assistant Principal as a liaison in discussing items for the SAC agenda to the SAC Chair in order to circumvent Sunshine laws? 
No

4.

Are SAC subcommittees (& agenda committees) subject to Sunshine Laws?
If the subcommittee makes any decisions, then yes.  If the subcommittee is a "fact finding" committee, then no. Click here for informal decision regarding committees

5. What are the requirements of the Sunshine law?
The Sunshine law requires that 1) meetings of boards or commissions must be open to the public; 2) reasonable notice of such meetings must be given, and 3) minutes of the meeting must be taken. (taken from FL Attorney website Sunshine FAQ)

6. Can a city restrict a citizen's right to speak at a meeting?
Public agencies are allowed to adopt reasonable rules and regulations which ensure the orderly conduct of a public meeting and which require orderly behavior on the part of the public attending. This includes limiting the amount of time an individual can speak and, when a large number of people attend and wish to speak, requesting that a representative of each side of the issue speak rather than every one present. (taken from FL Attorney website Sunshine FAQ)

7. As a private citizen, can I videotape a public meeting?
A public board may not prohibit a citizen from videotaping a public meeting through the use of nondisruptive video recording devices. (taken from FL Attorney website Sunshine FAQ)

8. Can a board vote by secret ballot?
The Sunshine law requires that meetings of public boards or commissions be "open to the public at all times." Thus, use of preassigned numbers, codes or secret ballots would violate the law. (taken from FL Attorney website Sunshine FAQ)

9. Can I request public documents over the telephone and do I have to tell why I want them?
Nothing in the public records law requires that a request for public records be in writing or in person, although individuals may wish to make their request in writing to ensure they have an accurate record of what they requested. Unless otherwise exempted, a custodian of public records must honor a request for records, whether it is made in person, over the telephone, or in writing, provided the required fees are paid. In addition, nothing in the law requires the requestor to disclose the reason for the request.  (taken from FL Attorney website Sunshine FAQ)

10. AGO 2001-84 (December 13, 2001) regarding Sunshine Law penalties, school advisory committee.  RE: school advisory committee members are subject to criminal penalties for knowing violations of Sunshine Law. s. 286.011
 

Sunshine Law Synopsis -  Title XIX  286.011

1. School Advisory council (SAC) meetings are public meetings and subject to the Government in the Sunshine Law
2. All meetings at which discussions and deliberations, as well as formal actions, take place must be open to the public,
3. Formal actions are considered binding only when made at meetings held in accordance with the Sunshine Law
4. Minutes of the meetings must be recorded and open to public inspection
5. All meetings must be held in a facility or location accessible to the public
6. SAC members who knowingly attend a meeting not held in accordance with the provisions of the Sunshine Law are guilty of a misdemeanor
                         ~ excerpts from:  286.011 (1), (2), (6), (3.b.)

Links & Resources for Information Regarding Sunshine Law:

1. Government in the Sunshine Manual - http://myfloridalegal.com/

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