Florida Senate Panel Approves Public Comment Bill

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Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The public would have a right to be heard at state and local government meetings under a bill that's cleared a Senate committee.

It's similar to a bill that unanimously passed the Senate last year but never got a floor vote in the House.

Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican, again is sponsoring this year's version (SB 50).

It's a response to a pair of appellate court rulings that said citizens have a right to attend public meetings, but they don't have a right to be heard under the state's open-government "sunshine" law.

The Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee unanimously approved Negron's bill, but it has two more committee stops before it can get a floor vote. A similar House bill (HB 23) hasn't yet received a committee hearing.

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