Lawmakers Dictating Ethics For Local Officials

Feb 14, 2017

Reformers in the Republican-led House want to create a statewide electronic registry for lobbyists who try to influence local governments.
Credit Florida League of Cities

The Florida House is moving closer to keeping Speaker Richard Corcoran’s promise to crack down on public corruption – at least at the local level.

The House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee agreed Tuesday to require local elected officials file more detailed financial disclosures and to create a statewide electronic registry for local government lobbyists. Chairman Larry Metz says first-time offenders who fail to register will get a warning letter.

“And then if there’s a second violation, it could go up to between 200 and 1,000 dollars for a second or subsequent violation. We’re going to call these, instead of fines, civil penalties.”

Among other things, the measure would also require more ethics training for local officials. Florida Commission on Ethics executive director Virlindia (VUR-Lind-ia,) Doss warned lawmakers her staff would have to be beefed up to handle the new responsibilities.