Florida Sex Offenders Unable to Attend Some Public Meetings

We received a member submission about a public meeting to address an issue that will impact the registrants in a particular community.

The meeting is proposed to be held in a location he is banished from.

EXTENDING OSCEOLA PARKWAY: New options on the table show Lake Ajay residents are in jeopardy again in having the Osceola Parkway Extension go through their community. Friends of Split Oak Forest say they have a better option that doesn’t impact their preserve or residents. Central Florida Expressway plans to hold a number of public information meetings this month so people can get involved. https://goo.gl/5dbkZA

February 13: St. Cloud High School from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
February 15 at Lake Nona Middle School from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
February 21 Association of Poinciana Villages Community Center from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Just like the Supreme Court proposes to broadcast its hearings on FaceBook, holding public meetings such as the one above (or the recent Brevard County re-entry task force meeting) in places we are not allowed to go to, deprives us of our First Amendment rights. The right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances is fundamental!

Florida’s Sunshine Law, provides a right of access to governmental proceedings at both the state and local levels.The Government in the Sunshine Law applies to “any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision.” The statute thus applies to public collegial bodies within this state, at the local as well as state level. City of Miami Beach v. Berns, 245 So. 2d 38 (Fla. 1971). It is equally applicable to elected and appointed boards or commissions. Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 73-223 (1973). The judiciary and the Legislature are not subject to the Sunshine Law.See, Locke v. Hawkes, 595 So. 2d 32 (Fla. 1992); Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 83-97 (1983).

There is a very helpful explanation of the Florida Law, which can be found here.

The bottom line being; public meetings which are held at venues ‘off limits’ to registrants are, in our opinion, unconstitutional and violate Florida’s Sunshine Law. If you know of such a meeting being held in a venue you are not able to attend because of a proximity ordinance, send them a letter requiring they change the venue to one that is open to the public.

If this becomes a larger issue, let us know at [email protected] and we will see what further action can be taken.

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