House Committee: Goodbye To Corrupt Intent

Jan 26, 2016

Government reformers are encouraged after a House panel Tuesday approved an anti-corruption measure. The bill by Republican Representative Larry Metz of Yalahaw tightens a handful of ethics regulations.

A House panel on Tuesday passed an anti-corruption bill that would force local officials to file more detailed financial disclosures.

Integrity Florida research director Ben Wilcox says one of the biggest changes would force city officials to file the same detailed financial disclosure forms lawmakers do.

“Florida has gone too long neglecting public corruption and ethical abuses and its citizens have paid a real price for corrupt government practices that have cost taxpayers public funds and damaged the state’s reputation.”

The bill also would eliminate a significant speed bump for prosecutors who now have to prove a crooked official acted with “corrupt intent.”

The Senate companion contains a holy grail for many crusaders – allowing the Florida Commission on Ethics to initiate its own investigations.

The latest attempt to strengthen anti-corruption laws has angered Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Palm Harbor, after a representative for news giant Gannett testified for the bill.