History of Florida - Public Record Laws
The Florida legislature passed the first laws in 1909 regarding public record laws. Freedom of information laws grants residents, students, researchers, concerned citizens and journalists the right to obtain records from their government. Certain laws are particular to specific agencies as there are limits and protections which apply. The open government sunset review act of 1995 allows for periodic review and repeal of the exemptions. The purpose was to give the government transparency and to provide its citizens access to open agency records. However, the law is not limited to records for sole purpose of scrutiny. Residents also benefit from the FOIA when trying to locate lost or misplaced records such and vital records and certificates, crime reports, recorded land and real estate deeds, certifications, permits and other information held by state, local and county departments.
Florida, also known as the sunshine state, became a U.S. territory in 1921 but entered the union in 1845. The state of Florida has 19 million residents in its 67 counties. The first two counties ever formed were St. Johns and Escambia. In 1925, the last county formed was Gilchrist. The purpose of counties being formed was for the state to provide services to local areas. The state also has 411 cities, towns and villages with the state capital being Tallahassee. Largest cities presently include Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa. The idea of forming cities originated in Europe, specifically Spain and England. Cities were formed by the legislature to allow for local power as its citizens were requesting. This gives local decisions to citizens governing themselves, such as taxes, local law enforcement, public utilities, administration, planning and development. The state government is run by the governor. The governor's cabinet consists of the state's attorney general, commissioner of agriculture and chief financial officer. The state’s legislature is broken down into 23 congressional districts, 120 house districts and 40 senate districts.
The state economy profits from a large variety of industries. Other than producing approximately 75 percent of the U.S. orange production, including growth in the electronic, financial sectors, tourism, space industry and agriculture make other large part of the economy. Due to Florida having a steady influx of first time residents, construction is generally one of its important industries. Almost half of exports to South America are through Florida’s ports.
FloridaPublicRecord.com lists a comprehensive directory of agencies which provide records to the public. Instructions, forms and information on how to obtain records are also included in many agency websites. By viewing an extensive index of various departments, you will be able to better understand how to request records and other information that is publicly available.
There are many government records that are available to anyone requesting information.
Recorded document request can include court records to recorded deeds and more. City departments consist of the city manager’s office, city clerks, city attorney, financial services, budgets, zoning, utilities, law enforcement, fire and rescue. The Florida department of law enforcement for a fee will conduct and provide a background criminal history search by request. Florida department of health's website provides instructions regarding how to order birth, death, marriage and divorce records.