Jacksonville Ethics Panel wants Gov. DeSantis veto of bill that could crush ‘anti-corruption’ efforts

Ethics
The bill had resounding support in Tallahassee, with just four votes against it in the Senate, and 24 opposed in the House.

The Jacksonville Ethics Commission is urging a veto of SB 7014, a bill that could cripple its central function, as well as similar ethics panels around the state.

“The amendments that were slipped into SB 7014 at the last minute now require that those who file an ethics complaint have personal knowledge of the offense they are reporting. It is incredibly rare that someone who directly observes an ethical offense reports it. The amendments also prohibit local ethics commissions from self-initiating complaints after receiving credible information. Persons would have to fully identify themselves on a sworn complaint form in order to file a formal complaint,” the commission notes in a media release.

The Ethics Panel contends such “new requirements may intimidate and have a chilling effect on persons who have information about corruption by local officials and employees” and would “also prevent the local commissions from following up on insider tips, Inspector General referrals, or media investigations.”

In a letter to DeSantis, the Ethics Commission noted “the Florida Ethics Institute, the Miami Dade and Naples Ethics Commissions Executive Directors” have already memorialized their objections to the “profound and deleterious changes (that) will have a chilling effect on persons who have information about government corruption while simultaneously shielding potential violations from investigatory scrutiny.”

The bill had resounding support in Tallahassee, with just four votes against it in the Senate, and 24 opposed in the House.

The bill seems to shut the door on certain complaints, including those based on “hearsay,” a condition which has riled editorial pages.

It also requires complaints to be signed under oath, meaning that aspirant whistleblowers will have to put their names and their reputations on their gripes.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


3 comments

  • Cheesy Floridian

    March 16, 2024 at 6:26 pm

    If this law passes is there a point to having an Ethics commission?

    • Uninsurable, Unethical, Christian Nationalist florida

      March 16, 2024 at 7:46 pm

      eTHiKz

    • MH/Duuuval

      March 16, 2024 at 9:00 pm

      It will be like an ethics commission in an authoritarian state, once removed.

Comments are closed.


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