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Negron right to speak measure ready for floor vote

by Dara Kam | March 12th, 2013

Florida’s broad open government laws require that citizens be informed about when public meetings are held but don’t guarantee that they’ll be able to give their two cents if they show up.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has filed a measure again this year that would change that. He teed up the the bill (SB 50) on the Senate floor today, meaning it could get a vote as early as next week. A similar proposal is moving through the House.

Under Negron’s proposal, county commissions, state agencies or other commissions or boards would be able to set time limits on how long people can speak.

“It’s important that we have in our statutes that you can’t invite the public to something and then say thank you for being here but we don’t want to hear from you,” Negron said on the floor today.

The bill doesn’t have any penalties for commissions or boards that violate the law but give people the ability to get an injunction through the courts. While Negron’s bill would force local commissions, boards and state agencies to allow citizens to speak, it leaves the Legislature off the hook.

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