Important cases have helped define the terms, including FCC v. ITT World Communications, Inc. (1984), in which the Supreme Court held that the Government in Sunshine Act applies only when a subdivision of an agency deliberates on matters falling within that subdivision`s formally delegated authority to take formal action on behalf of the agency. In another case, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2000), the DC Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Commission`s definition of „meetings” was valid under its own rules because it relied on the Supreme Court`s interpretation in ITT. It was found that transparency laws do not apply to some authorities. For example, the District of Columbia had refused to extend the disclosure of the transparency law to meetings of the National Economic Commission (interrupted), stating that discussing the economic assumptions, budget options, and tax policy of the meetings would create market speculation that would defeat the purpose of the agency`s proposed policy. In the medical industry, transparency laws require certain manufacturers, such as pharmaceutical organizations, to provide information about items that have been delivered to an organization or clinician, followed by the relevant price of the items.
This helps to make transactions more transparent and improve their accessibility and traceability. Although the application of the exceptions in the law at the end of the sittings was challenged, it was actually the definition section at the beginning of the law that led to the most controversial legal steps. This raises the question of which types of meetings are subject to the law (and which are not). In addition to federal agencies, states also have their own transparency laws that govern state agencies. The range of state transparency laws varies. Florida, for example, has particularly broad transparency laws. The Florida Supreme Court has declared that all Florida government agencies are subject to the requirements of the state`s transparency laws, unless specifically exempted. In addition, state transparency laws define agency broadly, and an agency includes any municipal body, political division, and county authority. The Freedom of Information Act is a classic example of the Sunshine Act.
Although most of these laws deal with economics or finance, they also extend to other areas. The medical sector is also required to comply with transparency laws, which require large pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers to disclose certain information that is part of their normal reporting and operating procedures. Some activities are supposed to be exceptions to transparency laws, regardless of the impact. It applies to lawful events such as taking certain actions against government officials that would involve issues of intense privacy. The following questions and answers are for reference purposes only – interested parties should refer to Florida regulations and applicable jurisdiction before drawing any legal conclusions. In some cases, an event or document that would normally be accessible through Sunshine Laws is publicly available (e.g., a legally protected matter currently under investigation), but the Sunshine Laws are designed to minimize these exceptions. Transparency laws also distinguish between entities that are subject to the laws and those that are not. For example, any entity with the power to create binding laws would be subject to the act, but an advisory committee without such power might not be subject to the Sunshine Acts, even if it deals with government matters. If the members of the Agency „duly determine” that the Assembly or parts of the Assembly fall within one of the ten exceptions, they may vote to close the meeting. A legal officer of the Agency must first advise members that the circumstances legally satisfy one of the exceptions. The majority of the members must then give their agreement and a written statement of the Agency`s decision must be drawn up and published within one day.
The Freedom of Information Act in the United States protects citizens` rights to access information from official government agencies, as do transparency laws. However, matters related to national security or policy enforcement cannot be made fully accessible under the Freedom of Information Act. It also protects financial and business company trade secrets or other information guaranteed by federal law. The Federal Sunshine Acts were created in 1976 by the Government in Sunshine Act (also known as the Sunshine Act), whose purpose was to promote accountability among federal agencies. Nevertheless, the Sunshine Act also contains ten exceptions, and the law also allows agencies to withdraw certain meetings behind closed doors on an individual basis, as disclosure can have negative effects. Such non-disclosure may be allowed where early disclosure is likely to significantly jeopardise the implementation of the measures proposed by the Agency. Meetings may also be closed to the public if another law requires their closure or if an organization`s involvement in a civil action is at stake. Not surprisingly, much has been said – especially in the statements of the Attorneys General – about the many possible readings of the definitions section. In particular, the questions of what is „deliberation” and how the „outcome” of such a meeting can be determined by objective examination are controversial. Florida began its tradition of openness as early as 1909 with the passage of Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, or Public Records Act. This Act provides that all records created or received by a public body in the course of its official activities may be accessed, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature. Over the years, the definition of „public record” includes not only traditional written documents such as papers, maps and books, but also tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings and documents stored on computers.
Some of these state laws predate federal law: California`s Brown Act was enacted in 1953. Other state transparency laws are much more recent; Some were enacted only after the federal law was passed. While language varies from state to state, especially with respect to the listed exceptions, the provisions of state laws are similar to those of federal law. Some activities are considered exceptions to transparency laws, regardless of impact. This is more common for those involved in active legal proceedings, including certain disciplinary measures involving government employees that would impact privacy issues. In the medical field, transparency laws require certain manufacturers, such as pharmaceutical companies, to disclose as part of a standard reporting procedure which items have been supplied to an institution or physician, as well as the associated value. This is an attempt to improve transparency regarding the financial impact of these transactions and to make the information accessible and traceable. In the United States, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) protects a citizen`s right to request certain information from the federal government, as do other transparency laws. It is not necessary to disclose all information through FOIA, for example on national security matters or on certain aspects of law enforcement. In addition, it provides protection with respect to trade secrets in commercial and financial markets and communications that are considered privileged in nature, or any information protected by additional federal laws. Sunshine laws are regulations that require transparency and disclosure within government or business.
Transparency laws provide for meetings, minutes, votes, deliberations and other official actions for public observation, participation and/or inspection. The Sunshine Laws also require that government meetings be held sufficiently in advance and at appropriate times and locations accessible to the public, with exceptions for emergency meetings.