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The Miami New Times, a weekly paper local to South Florida, reported today that a resident of the city of Miami Lakes, Florida, has accused two of the city’s councilmen of using Facebook to circumvent Florida’s Sunshine Law. The Sunshine Law is a Florida state law which requires political communications regarding public matters be transparent and public.
Councilman Nelson Hernandez is the sponsor of measure to prohibit council members and the mayor from serving on citizen committees. A week before the council vote on the measure, Hernandez posted sent a request to his Facebook friends, including councilman Richard Pulido, that they contact a swing vote on the council to urge her to vote in support. Pulido in return posted a comment on Hernandez’s Facebook page indicating that he supported the measure. This could be construed as a communication regarding an upcoming vote between members of the board which could violate the Florida Sunshine Laws.
According to the article, the resident who reported the allegedly improper communication has asked state public corruption prosecutor Joe Centorino to investigate Hernandez and Pulido. Considering the number of politicians who presently appear on Facebook, we can expect more such incidents in the future.