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Florida editors unite to protect Sunshine Law.

In a letter dated February 5, leaders of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors wrote to colleagues that "ominous clouds" were threatening the state's Sunshine Law. FSNE FSNE Florida Society of Newspaper Editors  president Patrick Yack and public-access committee co-chairs Tim Franklin and Neil Brown Neil Brown may be:
  • Neil Brown (Australian politician)
  • Neil Brown (Canadian politician)
See also
  • Neill S. Brown, Governor of Tennessee
 made an unprecedented proposal: That newspapers across the state dedicate ded·i·cate  
tr.v. ded·i·cat·ed, ded·i·cat·ing, ded·i·cates
1. To set apart for a deity or for religious purposes; consecrate.

 March 10 as "Sunshine Sunday."

When the letter was written, the 2002 Legislature had just convened. At that time, the letter said, more than 100 bills had been filed "to weaken, or completely gut, the laws" that kept the taxpayer-supported work of Florida officials in the open and on public record.

By the time legislature recessed re·cess  
a. A temporary cessation of the customary activities of an engagement, occupation, or pursuit.

b. The period of such cessation. See Synonyms at pause.

 in late March, more than 150 bills had been filed and countless efforts made to close access to government by amending other bills.

More than 25 newspapers joined in "Sunshine Sunday," representing editorial pages of all political persuasions. Along with editorials, many newspapers published columns and op-ed pieces, including those by Jim Naughton of the Poynter Institute The Poynter Institute is a school and resource for journalism located in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is in close proximity of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library on the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus that was built in memory of Nelson Poynter.  and Barbara Peterson Barbara Peterson (born c. 1954) is a beauty queen from Edina, Minnesota who has held the Miss USA title.

Peterson won the Miss Minnesota USA 1976 crown and later represented Minnesota in the Miss USA 1976 pageant held in Niagara Falls, New York in May that year.
 of the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee reprinted here.

When the regular legislative session ended, Peterson reported that only 10 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law were created, "none of them awful."

The unity of editors was an impressive endorsement of the principles within the First Amendment. Excerpts from some of the columns and editorials and two of the op-ed columns follow.
COPYRIGHT 2002 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:The Masthead
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2002
Previous Article:Participatory democracy depends upon open records, open meetings.
Next Article:Horse manure and the Cheney Test: survey shows access is not a concern just for journalists.

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