September 17, 2020 •

County Commissioners Approve Changes to Lobbying Regulations

Tallahassee City Hall

Leon County, Florida commissioners have approved an ordinance updating the county’s lobbying regulations. The new ordinance updates the registration and reporting process by removing the notary requirement and developing an online registration form. The ordinance also defines a clear process […]

Leon County, Florida commissioners have approved an ordinance updating the county’s lobbying regulations.

The new ordinance updates the registration and reporting process by removing the notary requirement and developing an online registration form.

The ordinance also defines a clear process for enforcement and adds new penalties for violations of the lobbyist regulations.

A public hearing will be held on the new ordinance on October 13.

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March 19, 2020 •

Florida Legislature Adjourns 2020 Session

Florida Capitol Building

After extending the session to complete work on several appropriations bills, the Florida Legislature adjourned sine die Thursday, March 19. During the 2020 session, the Legislature considered but failed to pass any of the proposed ethics bills. Bills include changes […]

After extending the session to complete work on several appropriations bills, the Florida Legislature adjourned sine die Thursday, March 19.

During the 2020 session, the Legislature considered but failed to pass any of the proposed ethics bills.

Bills include changes to revolving door restrictions and the establishment of a centralized local lobbyist registration system.

Additionally, this does not affect any lobbyist dates reporting.

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January 16, 2020 •

Florida Legislature Looks to Create a Centralized Local Government Lobbyist Registration System

Florida Capitol Building

The Florida Senate has introduced a bill creating a statewide registration system for lobbying government entities. The bill expands the definition of lobbying to include seeking to influence any governmental entity with respect to a decision or an attempt to […]

The Florida Senate has introduced a bill creating a statewide registration system for lobbying government entities.

The bill expands the definition of lobbying to include seeking to influence any governmental entity with respect to a decision or an attempt to obtain the goodwill of an official or employee of any governmental entity.

Further, the bill defines governmental entity as including:

    • Water management districts
    • Hospital districts
    • Children’s services districts
    • Expressway authorities
    • Port authorities
    • Counties
    • Municipalities
    • School districts
    • Special districts

With these new expanded definitions, the Commission on Ethics will establish the Local Government Lobbyist Registration System.

All lobbyists wishing to lobby any governmental entity within the state would have to register with this new system.

All previously established rules and local ordinances currently governing lobbyist registration would be preempted and replaced by this new system.

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December 6, 2019 •

Tallahassee City Commission Passes Ordinance Amending Ethics Code

Tallahassee City Hall

On December 4, the Tallahassee City Commission approved an ordinance amending the city’s ethics code. The ordinance expands the Independent Ethics Board’s jurisdiction to covered individuals including: Each public official An employee or member of a city board, commission, or […]

On December 4, the Tallahassee City Commission approved an ordinance amending the city’s ethics code.

The ordinance expands the Independent Ethics Board’s jurisdiction to covered individuals including:

  • Each public official
  • An employee or member of a city board, commission, or council required to file financial disclosures, or with purchasing authority exceeding $35,000
  • Employees participating in the procurement of services or commodities exceeding $10,000

The amended ethics code extends the ban on solicitation and acceptance of gifts to covered individuals.

Additionally, the amended code extends the prohibition against misuse of public position to all public officials and employees of the city.

The ordinance becomes effective January 1, 2020.

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May 7, 2019 •

Florida Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Florida Capitol Building

The Florida Legislature adjourned sine die on May 4. The 61-day legislative session ran a day longer than expected as lawmakers passed a $91.1 billion state budget over the weekend. During the session, lawmakers failed to pass an ethics reform […]

The Florida Legislature adjourned sine die on May 4.

The 61-day legislative session ran a day longer than expected as lawmakers passed a $91.1 billion state budget over the weekend.

During the session, lawmakers failed to pass an ethics reform bill revising post-service lobbying restrictions and executive branch lobbyist registration.

The Legislature passed House Bills 7021 and 7023 requiring the electronic filing of financial disclosures.

If signed by the governor, the electronic filing requirement is effective January 1, 2022.

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April 18, 2019 •

Tallahassee Board Proposes Expansion of Ethics Code

On Tuesday, the Tallahassee Independent Ethics Board proposed changes to expand the city’s ethics code.

The proposal expands the Board’s jurisdiction to procurement employees and individuals required to file state financial disclosures.

Additionally, the proposal increases the fines faced by lobbyists to $1,000 for the first intentional violation, and prohibits covered individuals from accepting or soliciting all gifts regardless of value from vendors and lobbyists.

The draft ordinance will head to the city commission for final approval later this spring.

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January 30, 2019 •

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Resigns

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher resigned last week from her post. Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended her earlier this month for failing to meet deadlines during last November’s election recount. Wendy Santory Link has been appointed by the […]

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher resigned last week from her post.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended her earlier this month for failing to meet deadlines during last November’s election recount.

Wendy Santory Link has been appointed by the governor to replace her.

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January 25, 2019 •

Florida Governor Announces Special Election

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the dates to hold a special election to fill the vacancy in House District 7. The special primary election will take place on April 9, while the special general election will be on June 18. The […]

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the dates to hold a special election to fill the vacancy in House District 7.

The special primary election will take place on April 9, while the special general election will be on June 18.

The seat was vacated when Halsey Beshears resigned in order to serve as the head of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

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November 7, 2018 •

Florida Passes Amendment to Move Legislative Session to January

Voters passed Amendment 10 proposing four changes to state and local government structure and operation. The first proposal changes the regular sessions for the Legislature from March to January on even-numbered years. The measure also created the Office of Domestic […]

Voters passed Amendment 10 proposing four changes to state and local government structure and operation.

The first proposal changes the regular sessions for the Legislature from March to January on even-numbered years.

The measure also created the Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism within the Department of Law Enforcement and requires the Legislature to provide for a Department of Veterans Affairs within the executive branch.

The last proposal passed by the measure ensures elections for the county offices of sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, and clerk of the circuit court.

The changes relating to the election of county officers will take effect January 5, 2021, except for Miami-Dade and Broward Counties which will take in January 7, 2025.

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November 7, 2018 •

Florida Passes Revolving Door Ban

Voters approved Amendment 12, titled Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers. The amendment expands restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers, former justices, and judges. Effective December 31, 2022 the measure bans state and local officials […]

Voters approved Amendment 12, titled Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers.

The amendment expands restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers, former justices, and judges.

Effective December 31, 2022 the measure bans state and local officials from lobbying for a period of six years after leaving public office.

The prohibition includes individuals serving as a statewide elected officer, member of the Legislature, a county commissioner, school superintendent or board member, elected municipal officer, and the agency head of an executive branch department of the state government.

The measure also prohibits abuse of a public position to obtain a personal benefit.

The Legislature will establish penalties for violations of the prohibition against abuse of a public position to take effect December 31, 2020.

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September 27, 2018 •

Hillsborough County School District to Hold Special Runoff Election

A special runoff election will be held on November 6 to fill the remainder of Susan Valdes’s term on the Hillsborough County School Board. Her resignation for the District 1 seat is effective in November. Former Hillsborough County School District […]

A special runoff election will be held on November 6 to fill the remainder of Susan Valdes’s term on the Hillsborough County School Board.

Her resignation for the District 1 seat is effective in November.

Former Hillsborough County School District administrator Bill Person will face construction industry executive Steve Cona III in the special runoff election.

The winner will complete the remainder of Valdes’s four-year term.

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July 9, 2018 •

Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics Names New Executive Director

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust selected Jose J. Arrojo as its new executive director. Arrojo is currently a Chief Assistant State Attorney and will be the third director of the commission since it was created in 1996. […]

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust selected Jose J. Arrojo as its new executive director.

Arrojo is currently a Chief Assistant State Attorney and will be the third director of the commission since it was created in 1996.

Arrojo, will assume the post when Joseph Centorino steps down at the end of August.

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June 22, 2018 •

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Approves Lobbyist Registration Policy

The Board of Governors for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation unanimously approved a new policy requiring lobbyist registration. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis asked the board last month to create a registration and disclosure process at the corporation similar to […]

The Board of Governors for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation unanimously approved a new policy requiring lobbyist registration.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis asked the board last month to create a registration and disclosure process at the corporation similar to executive branch requirements.

Effective September 1, lobbyists will be required to register by a new online system before communicating with a member of the board or an employee of the corporation outside of a public meeting.

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April 17, 2018 •

Florida Proposal Restricting Lobbying and Abuse of Office Placed on November Ballot

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission voted to place a six-year revolving door restriction directly on the November general election ballot. Proposal 6007 would also ban state and local officials from lobbying the Legislature, executive branch, and the federal government while […]

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission voted to place a six-year revolving door restriction directly on the November general election ballot.

Proposal 6007 would also ban state and local officials from lobbying the Legislature, executive branch, and the federal government while in office.  If approved by 60 percent of voters, the lobbying ban will take effect December 31, 2022.

The proposal would also prohibit public officials from abusing their position to obtain a disproportionate benefit.

The Commission on Ethics will be responsible for defining the term disproportionate benefit, prescribing the requisite intent for finding a violation, and enforcing the prohibition against the abuse of a public position.

The new ethics rule will take effect December 31, 2020, if passed by 60 percent of voters.

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