Amendment: 12 Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Office Holders.

Author:Spicola, William N.
Position::Third Florida Constitution Revision Commission Proposals
 
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Fla. Const. art. XI, [section]2, mandates that a 37-member revision commission meet every 20 years for the purpose of reviewing Florida's Constitution and proposing changes for voter consideration. The current Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) convened in March 2017 and met for about 15 months, traveling the state of Florida, hearing from the public, identifying issues, performing research, and finally proposing eight amendments to the Florida Constitution. The eight amendments proposed by the CRC are on the 2018 General Election ballot for voters to consider.

As we heard from people all across our great state on a variety of issues, we saw a healthy amount of cynicism about people who serve in our state government. While we can think of many fine public servants who entered politics without anything to gain, people who pulled themselves up and staked out their lot in life through years of hard work, there are undoubtedly other examples of people who enter the public arena for what it can do for them. With this concern in mind, the CRC will put Amendment 12 on the November ballot for voters to consider amending ethics in government and ethics in the judiciary.

If adopted, Amendment 12 will prohibit Florida legislators, statewide elected officers, and state agency heads from being compensated to represent a person or entity before the legislature, any state government body or agency, or any political subdivision of the state during office and for six years after vacating office. Local elected officers of bodies with taxing authority may not be compensated to represent a person or entity before the legislature, any state government body or agency, or any political subdivision of the state during office, and for six years after vacating office. There is an exception for representing a person or entity in front of judicial tribunals and administrative actions subject to judicial review, so lawyers will not have to choose between their profession and public service.

Amendment 12 also bars state public officers or state employees from abusing their position to obtain a "disproportional benefit" for themselves, their spouses, their children, their employer, or a business they own or are an officer of. The revision empowers the Commission on Ethics to define "disproportional benefit" consistent with F.S. Ch. 120.

Justices and judges are prohibited from representing a person or entity for compensation before the legislative or executive...

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