March 11, 2013 •
New exceptions could begin July 1
A bill to allow lobbyist expenditures on legislators is pending before the Florida Senate. Currently, almost all expenditures by lobbyists and principals on members and employees of the legislature are prohibited.
Senate Bill 1634 provides exceptions to the ban on lobbyist expenditures, permitting:
- Individual servings of nonalcoholic beverages provided by a lobbyist or a principal as a courtesy to the attendees of a meeting;
- A single meal not solicited by the member or employee of the legislature, served as part of a scheduled meeting of an established membership organization that is also a principal, and attended by the member or employee as a featured speaker, moderator, or participant of a panel discussion; and
- Food and beverages provided as part of a widely attended event hosted by a membership organization or governmental body that is also a principal if the cost per attendee does not exceed $25.
Widely attended event is defined as one reasonably expected to be attended by at least 25 persons other than members or employees of the legislature, open to persons from throughout a given industry or profession, or to a wide range of persons interested in a given issue presented at the event.
The bill requires the houses of the legislature to establish a rule regarding registration and approval of events at which such expenditures may be made.
The new exceptions would take effect on July 1, 2013, and would expire June 30, 2015.
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