Fla. Senate Approves Right To Speak Bill

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – A unanimous vote in the Florida Senate Tuesday would give citizens the right to be heard, and not just seen, at local government and state agency meetings.

The bill, Senate Bill 50, was a response to an appeals-court ruling on Florida’s open-government sunshine law. The decision by the court interpreted the law to require officials to meet in public, but not require them to give citizens a voice.

The bill allows governments to set time limits on public comment and exempts some meetings of an emergency or purely ceremonial nature. It also allows enforcement by court orders known as injunctions.

The Senate on Tuesday approved the bill (SB 50) by a vote of 40-0. A companion measure is under consideration in the House.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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