Florida FOIA audit

It must be the season for FOIA compliance audits.

The Scripps chain of “Treasure Coast” newspapers in Florida just collaborated on a statewide FOIA compliance audit.

As the headline says, Although Treasure Coast sheriffs fail records tests, 66 percent of other offices released records properly.

The overall audit findings of 163 school, sheriff’s and administrative offices in 56 of Florida’s 67 counties determined that about 43% of offices failed the test by improperly handing requests one way or another.

• 18 percent required a written request.
• 17 percent required requesters’ names.
• 4 percent asked requesters why they wanted the records.
• Others were not able to produce a record within a reasonable amount of time.

Florida has an active sunshine community that has been doing yeoman’s work to educate abut the legal requirements in the law for year. Thus the tone of frustration in this editorial’s conclusion:

Unfortunately, despite annual reminders of the rules in this newspaper and elsewhere, problems persist. This is unacceptable. Every member of the public has a constitutional right, under Florida law, to almost every public document — no questions asked. If you are asked questions, there’s no requirement to answer.

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