Fourteen media groups—including the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting—have filed an amicus brief backing Brevard County Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis in a case regarding whether a local public/private economic development agency’s documents are subject to the state’s public records laws.
First Amendment advocates argue the case, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast v. Scott Ellis, has implications that would affect the entire state.
According to the filed brief, the media groups involved are: the First Amendment Foundation Inc., The Associated Press, The Florida Press Association, Florida Society of News Editors, The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, Miami Herald Media Company, Orlando Sentinel Communications LLC, Scripps Media Inc., Sun-Sentinel Company LLC, Tampa Media Group, Halifax Media Group LLC, The Bradenton Herald Inc., and Morris Communications Corporation.
Florida Today reported earlier this year that the case dates back to January 2013 when Ellis “demanded that the EDC provide records to his office related to its dealings with technology company BlueWare Inc. and its subsidiaries.”
Officials at the EDC refused to turn over the documents and now the issue is in court.
According to Florida Today, “Ellis said he believes the EDC is acting out of a concern to shield its financial data, more than anything else.”
Media groups argued in the brief the functions of the EDC is of the public interest and therefore, should be subject to Florida’s broad sunshine laws.
Oral arguments took place on June 16th, 2015.
Content excerpted from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting website. See the full article.