TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Wednesday, April 16, a coalition of groups, including Integrity Florida, the First Amendment Foundation, Common Cause Florida, the Citizens Awareness Foundation and The Tea Party Network held a press conference to call for legislative action on ethics reform (SB 846) and open government (SB 1648, HB 1151) bills that are presently stalled in the Florida Legislature.Click here to watch the press conference video.
The coalition jointly supports three bills:
- For open government, SB 1648, a bill spearheaded by Senator Jeremy Ring, which was passed by the State Senate unanimously on March 26 by a vote of 39-0.
- The coalition supports that bill’s companion, HB 1151, sponsored by Representative Dave Hood, which is currently held up in the House.
- The coalition supports SB 846 sponsored by Senator Jack Latvala to strengthen the state’s ethics laws. SB 846 passed the Senate unanimously by a vote of 38-0, which also took place on March 26. The House has yet to act on this ethics reform proposal.
Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford jointly announced Work Plan Florida 2014 before the session started. Our legislative leaders committed to “Continue To Improve Florida’s Ethics Laws” in the 2014 legislative session. The Florida Senate website specifically includes SB 846 as part of the Work Plan objective to “expand 2013 Ethics Reform”. The Senate website also is tracking the legislative progress on SB 1648 as part of Work Plan Agenda Item 5 to “Improve Government Accountability and Efficiency”.
Integrity Florida applauds President Gaetz and Speaker Weatherford for implementing lobbyist compensation audits and clarifying residency requirements for legislators. We encourage our legislative leaders to build on these small steps by passing major ethics reform and open government legislation in the remaining two weeks of the 2014 session.
Three weeks ago, the Florida Senate took action by unanimously passing open government and ethics reform legislation. Our coalition is united in calling on the Florida House to prioritize and approve these good government reform measures.
Co-Founder and Executive Director