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Florida First Amendment Foundation

Sunshine Savior: Retiring Barbara Petersen Is Florida's First Amendment Champion

Jan 1, 2020

For 25 years, Barbara Petersen has been Florida’s defender of First Amendment rights. She’s stepping down from her official role. But she can never truly let go.

The First Amendment Foundation (FAF) in Tallahassee keeps watch over policy discussions that could impede the public’s right to know about government business.

“We track all bills that affect the public’s ability to oversee government and hold it accountable," says FAF president Barbara Petersen.

The foundation tracked 111 bills this year that would create new open government exemptions or extend current exemptions. 25 of them passed.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Public records advocates are opposing a number of bills that will be considered by the Florida legislature this year.

FICPA / Flickr

Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.