fbpx
Connect with us

Headlines

House lawmakers try again to pass ethics reform

Proposals in the House to enact ethics reform have previously died in the Senate.

State House members are trying to get sweeping ethics changes through the Legislature. Again.

The legislation (HB 1185) sponsored by Republican State Rep. Chuck Brannan of Macclenny would remove restrictions on certain state, university, and community college employees who lobby for their government employer, and prohibit a governmental entity or elected official from using public service announcements to promote themselves during campaigns. It would also discourage public office holders from holding contractual jobs with nonprofits that do business with the government, and would prohibit statewide elected officers and members of the Legislature from soliciting or accepting investment advice from lobbyists.

Former Gov. Rick Scott signed what Integrity Florida hailed as “historic” ethics and campaign reforms into law in 2013. The changes made it easier for the public to access financial disclosure forms and gave the Florida Commission on Ethics new tools to combat public corruption and addressed potential conflicts of interest. The legislature also increased campaign finance limits so candidates could fund their campaigns directly instead of through special interest committees and political parties.

Scott signed additional legislation in 2014 that allows the ethics commission to independently begin ethics investigations when officials don’t file financial reports, requires  lobbyist disclosure at the state’s water management districts and mandates annual ethics training for elected city officials.

But since then, the Senate has hampered attempts to pass more ethics reform to the frustration of past House speakers. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran complained in 2017 that the Senate had “zero interest” in his top legislative priority when he was Speaker.

Conversa_728x90

The House unanimously passed similar ethics reform legislation last year, but it died in the Senate where it never passed its first committee.

The House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee passed it unanimously. The Senate companion (SB 1530) sponsored by State Sen. Dennis Baxley has yet to get a committee hearing. 

The committee also passed legislation (HB 814) sponsored by Republican State Rep. Bobby Payne  stating that if the surplus funds are disposed of by donation to a charitable organization, the candidate may not be employed by the same charitable organization.

Written By

Sarah Mueller has extensive experience covering public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010. She began her career covering local government in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She returned to school in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. Since then, she’s worked in public radio covering state politics in Illinois, Florida and Delaware. If you'd like to contact her, send an email to sarah@floridapolitics.com.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.