It is puzzling why Republicans in Tallahassee would shut down access to public records.
The instrument was SB 1616, which was approved by the Florida Legislature this week.
It excludes travel by the governor on state business from the public records. Public records and meetings are covered by what are popularly known as the sunshine laws.
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently jetted about the world visiting several countries include Israel.
The media doesn’t care much about the where and why of the trips. They want to know who paid for the trip so they can complain about it along with their daily lambasting of DeSantis.
From what they have learned so far it appears unnamed private donors paid for most of the trip, at least, funneling the money through Enterprise Florida. That public-private agency is on the chopping block this year with most of its duties being moved into the state government. It is expected the newly revised operation will be called the Dept. of Commerce.
That itself is a side story. Jeb Bush was once the secretary of commerce in the 1990s and astounded people by advocating the elimination of his department, something no bureaucrat ever has done to our knowledge. It was accomplished later after Bush was elected governor.
At any rate, the justification for the secrecy was security. DeSantis inspires a lot of hate among liberals and receives a lot of death threats, so perhaps the stated explanation is sufficient.
However, there does not seem to be any reason why the information could not be withheld during a trip and released afterward. It also is telling that the law is retroactive.
As long as a trip is not being financed by the Red Chinese — as might be the case in the Biden Administration — we don’t much care who picked up the tab.
But it is important to the Democrat media and we don’t like secrecy in government; we got enough of that in the administration of “Lame Duck Lenny” Curry.
Democrats say the bill’s purpose was to help DeSantis become president. Doubtful, but if that is the reason it also seems to be ample justification.
A temporary hold on public information certainly would be acceptable but why make it permanent? Eye on Jacksonville would recommend the GOP legislators rethink and revisit the issue as soon as possible to make it more palatable.