Gov. Charlie Crist has created a new commission whose only job is to make sure government does the public’s business in the open.
Florida already has one of the strongest open government laws in the country, but state lawmakers poke new loopholes in the law every year. Gov. Crist wants his new Commission on Open Government review all of those exemptions to see if they are really needed. In the aftermath of 9/11, there are times when government has to work in secret, but the governor says that has to be weighed against the public’s right to know.
“As much as I yearn for openness in government, I also yearn for the safety of our citizens," the governor said. "And it’s a difficult balance to strike, but it’s an important one, and we’re not always going to get it right, but we’re going to try very hard to get it right.”
The new commission will be chaired by Barbara Peterson who works as director of the First Amendment Foundation and is one of the leading advocates for open government in the Florida Capitol.