Senate Ethics Chair: Ten Percent Of Lawmakers May Live Outside Their Districts

Jan 9, 2014

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) says some state lawmakers and local elected leaders don't live where they say they do.
Credit Florida Senate

The chair of the Florida Senate’s Ethics and Elections Committee has introduced legislation he says will curb a trend of lawmakers not living in their districts. Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) says as much as 10 percent of the Florida Legislature may be violating the law.

The law would solidify rules concerning where elected officials may live and tighten restrictions on how they report their home address. Latvala, whose staff has been studying lawmaker residency for months, says the law can be followed by examining a few simple criteria, including:

“Where do your bank statements come? Where does your mail come? Where do you spend your time?”

The law would not require lawmakers who own more than one home to sell all but their primary residence, however. Latvala says as many as 16 current legislators may be in violation of the proposal. Still, he concedes he and his colleagues may need to be excepted from the bill if it’s to pass, because the Legislature already has rules that govern what criteria its members must meet in order to serve, including living in their district.