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Lobbyist registration to start at Citizens Insurance

Lobbyists who represent clients at Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will have to register with the insurer beginning Sept. 1 under a policy unanimously approved Wednesday by the Citizens Board of Governors.

Although lobbyists seeking to influence decisions in the executive branch of state government must already register, the state-backed Citizens has not had a similar requirement.

In early May, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis asked the insurer to close that disclosure gap and to create a process in which lobbyists must register and disclose their clients.

Under the new policy, lobbyists will have to file a one-year registration form “before communicating or contacting a member of the Citizens Board of Governors or an employee of Citizens, outside of a presentation on the record at a publicly noticed meeting.”

Nancy Staff, Citizens director of ethics and compliance officer, said the registration, which can begin on Aug. 1, will be done online and that registration information will be available to the public on the internet. She said the process is similar to what lobbyists do now when they register to lobby executive agencies, like the governor’s office or the Office of Insurance Regulation.

“It will have the look and feel of the online registration that they are already doing for the executive branch,” Staff told the board.

Lobbyists who “knowingly” violate the registration policy could be barred from the Citizens procurement process and lobbyist registration for up to a year.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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