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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Steve Bousquet column: Citizens deserve right to speak at public meetings



You pay your taxes and play by the rules.

You also keep hearing that Florida is a leader in open government "sunshine."

So one day you decide to give the folks at City Hall your two cents' worth at a public meeting.

But City Hall is not obligated to provide you a soapbox (though most local governments do allow time for public comment at meetings).

In two cases involving obscure taxing districts in Pensacola and Palatka, courts ruled that refusing to allow public comment at a public meeting is not a violation of the Sunshine Law.

The Florida Constitution is silent on the question of whether citizens have an absolute right to be heard, so the Legislature is now involved.

Column here.

[Last modified: Monday, January 16, 2012 6:06pm]


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