During their meeting today, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners approved updates on guidelines for policy debates that take place through social media websites. This comes after other counties across the state have set up specific frameworks for abiding by the Sunshine and Public Records Laws on social media platforms.
In order to update Leon County’s social media policies, the Board voted to accept an update on Board Policy No. 96-4, “Public Records Law, E-mail, Social Media/Networking and Archiving,” which has not been revised since 2011.
Under the state’s Sunshine Law, “all meetings of the Board at which official acts are to be taken or at which public business is to be transacted or discussed” are required to be accessible to the public. Similarly, the Public Records Law provides that “every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record” that has to do with official county business, excluding disclosed or confidential matters.
In Wakulla County, all communications and comments made through social media sites by county officiants are considered public records and must be stored as such. In Polk County, county commissioners and advisors are prohibited from engaging in discourse on matters that could potentially make its way to the commission for official action. In Highlands County, any social media interaction concerning the county sent out by a public official on a site not sponsored by the county should be screenshotted and kept for records.
Following the Board’s approval, county staff will prepare proposed revisions to Board Policy No. 96-4.