Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
First, a program note: Last Call will be on break till next Monday. We wish a safe and happy July 4 holiday to all our readers.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office is advising a small Miami-Dade town that discussions of school “security system plans” generally could be held in secret under the state’s Sunshine Laws.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Ellen B. Gwynn wrote an “informal” opinion, dated Tuesday, for the Town of Bay Harbor Islands.
The opinion follows a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Broward County, that left 17 dead, including 14 students.
Florida law provides for public records and open government meetings, save for a long line of exemptions.
Overall, “public meetings and records related to security systems and/or security system plans are confidential and exempt,” Gwynn said.
“The Town must decide on a case-by-case basis whether a proposed discussion would ‘relate directly to’ a security system,” Gwynn wrote, quoting statute. “Each proposed discussion will involve a new set of facts that the government must evaluate, adhering closely to the statutory language.”
The town attorney said officials there wanted “to discuss the Town’s security system plans for the school facilities” and wanted those meetings to “be closed to the public, and the records produced from such meetings … kept free from public access or disclosure,” the opinion explained.
Bay Harbor Islands and the Miami-Dade School Board “are parties to a Joint Use Agreement that allows the School Board to use certain Town property, and the Town to use certain facilities of the Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center.”
“Simply stated, during school hours, the School Board is required to provide the security of the outdoor and school facilities. During non-school hours, the Town is required to provide the security of the outdoor and school facilities,” the opinion said.
Gwynn offered that “there is very little case law dealing with records that relate to security systems and security system plans,” and “the question of exemption from public meetings has not been addressed by any court.”
But she also noted a Florida Supreme Court opinion: “When in doubt, the members of any board, agency, authority or commission should follow the open-meeting policy of the state.”
The full opinion is here.
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“Bill Nelson says he wants to debate Rick Scott but won’t say when” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
“Ex-Dem IT staffer slammed by Donald Trump pleads guilty to bank fraud” via John Bresnahan of POLITICO Florida
“Adam Putnam attack ads funded by dark money group with ties to mega-donor Joe Ricketts” via Ali Schmitz of TCPalm
“Fracking appears to be out: Group gets Ron DeSantis to voice support for ban” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics
“Abolish ICE? No, say these two vulnerable Florida Democrats” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
“Contractor claims shady deal by chief of hurricane recovery funding” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida
“Florida’s year-round daylight saving time law on hold in Congress” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel
“Fisherman catches brick of marijuana off the coast of Florida” via Caitlin O’Kane of CBS News
Quote of the Day
“More freedom, less fraud.” — state Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, arguing for a change to state law that allows people to buy fireworks only if they agree to use them to scare birds “from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.”
Bill Day’s Latest
Wake Up Early?
State offices will be closed because of the Independence Day holiday.
The Vietnam Veterans of America Big Bend Chapter 96 will conduct a reading of the Declaration of Independence by an actor dressed as Ben Franklin. That’s at 8 a.m., Old Capitol front steps, Tallahassee.
Republican candidate for Governor Adam Putnam will take part in a 4th of July parade in Bay County, his campaign announced. That’s at 9 a.m. Central time, A.L. Kinsaul Park, 1146 West 5th St., Lynn Haven. Media who plan to attend should email email@example.com to register.
Emma Collum, a Democratic candidate for House District 93, will take part in a 4th of July parade in Broward County. That’s at 10 a.m., starting at Town Hall, 4505 N. Ocean Drive, Lauderdale by the Sea.
Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner Denise Grimsley will participate in the annual Naples 4th of July parade. That’s at 10 a.m. The parade begins on Broad Avenue South and ends on 8th Avenue South and 8th Street South in downtown Naples.
Democratic candidate for governor Gwen Graham will march in Brandon’s annual 4th of July Parade with state Sen. Darryl Rouson and supporters. That’s at 10 a.m., 101 E. Lumsden Rd., Brandon.
Former Miami Beach mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor Philip Levine will be participating in the 59th annual 4th of July parade in Key Biscayne. That’s at 10:45 a.m., 107-1 Fernwood Rd., Key Biscayne.
The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to release its weekly opinions Thursday, 11 a.m.
The Agency for Health Care Administration has scheduled a meeting about the repeal of rules for clinical laboratories. That’s Thursday, 2 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.
Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will hold “mobile” office hours in Volusia County. That’s Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Ormond Beach Library, 30 South Beach St., Ormond Beach.
The Suwannee River Water Management District will hold a meeting to discuss a water-supply assessment. That’s Thursday, 6 p.m., district headquarters, 9225 County Road 49, Live Oak.
The Agency for Health Care Administration has scheduled a meeting about a rule involving bone marrow transplantation. That’s Friday, 9 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.
The Agency for Health Care Administration has scheduled a workshop about updating Medicaid reimbursement schedules and billing codes. That’s Friday, 1:30 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.