|Introduced in House||Passed House||Introduced in Senate||Passed Senate||Became Law|
Local Government Accountability
Requiring the Commission on Ethics to create the Local Government Lobbyist Registration System; prohibiting a person from lobbying a governmental entity absent registration with the commission; requiring the commission to publish a lobbyist directory; requiring boards of county commissioners and governing bodies of municipalities, respectively, to provide notice of certain meetings in a specified manner, etc.
Florida Senate - 2020 SB 766 By Senator Perry 8-00718A-20 2020766__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to local government accountability; 3 amending s. 112.3148, F.S.; redefining the term 4 “lobbyist” to conform to changes made by the act; 5 repealing s. 112.3261, F.S., relating to registration 6 of and reporting by water management district 7 lobbyists; creating s. 112.3262, F.S.; defining terms; 8 requiring the Commission on Ethics to create the Local 9 Government Lobbyist Registration System; preempting 10 local government rules or ordinances establishing a 11 lobbyist registration system; authorizing governmental 12 entities to adopt certain rules and ordinances; 13 prohibiting a person from lobbying a governmental 14 entity absent registration with the commission; 15 specifying registration requirements; requiring the 16 commission to publish a lobbyist directory; 17 establishing procedures for the cancellation of a 18 lobbyists registration; requiring a governmental 19 entity to monitor compliance with registration 20 requirements; requiring the commission to investigate 21 sworn complaints containing certain allegations; 22 prescribing procedures for the disposition of 23 complaints; specifying applicable penalties for 24 violations; specifying required duties of governmental 25 entities; authorizing the commission to adopt certain 26 rules; authorizing an affected person to seek an 27 advisory opinion from the commission; amending ss. 28 125.001 and 166.0213, F.S.; requiring boards of county 29 commissioners and governing bodies of municipalities, 30 respectively, to provide notice of certain meetings in 31 a specified manner; providing a declaration of 32 important state interest; providing an effective date. 33 34 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 35 36 Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section 37 112.3148, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 38 112.3148 Reporting and prohibited receipt of gifts by 39 individuals filing full or limited public disclosure of 40 financial interests and by procurement employees.— 41 (2) As used in this section: 42 (b)1. “Lobbyist” means any natural person who, for 43 compensation, seeks, or sought during the preceding 12 months, 44 to influence the governmental decisionmaking of a reporting 45 individual or procurement employee or his or her agency or 46 seeks, or sought during the preceding 12 months, to encourage 47 the passage, defeat, or modification of any proposal or 48 recommendation by the reporting individual or procurement 49 employee or his or her agency. 50 2. With respect to an agency that is a governmental entity 51 as defined in s. 112.3262
has established by rule, ordinance, or52 law a registration process for persons seeking to influence53 decisionmaking or to encourage the passage, defeat, or54 modification of any proposal or recommendation by such agency or55 an employee or official of the agency, the term “lobbyist” 56 includes only a person who is required to be registered as a 57 lobbyist in accordance with s. 112.3262 such rule, ordinance, or58 lawor who, wasduring the preceding 12 months, was required to 59 be registered as a lobbyist in accordance with s. 112.3262 such60 rule, ordinance, or law. At a minimum, such a registration61 system must require the registration of, or must designate,62 persons as “lobbyists” who engage in the same activities as63 require registration to lobby the Legislature pursuant to s.64 11.045.65 Section 2. Section 112.3261, Florida Statutes, is repealed. 66 Section 3. Section 112.3262, Florida Statutes, is created 67 to read: 68 112.3262 Lobbying before governmental entities.— 69 (1) As used in this section, the term: 70 (a) “Governmental entity” or “entity” means a water 71 management district created in s. 373.069 and operating under 72 the authority of chapter 373, a hospital district, a childrens 73 services district, an expressway authority, a port authority as 74 defined in s. 315.02, a county, a municipality, a school 75 district, or a special district. 76 (b) “Lobbying” means seeking, on behalf of another person, 77 to influence a governmental entity with respect to a decision of 78 the entity in an area of policy or procurement or an attempt to 79 obtain the goodwill of an official or employee of a governmental 80 entity. The term does not include representing a client in any 81 stage of applying for, or seeking approval of, an application 82 for a license, permit, or waiver of a regulation or other 83 administrative action, or opposition to such action, provided 84 that such action does not require legislative discretion and is 85 subject to judicial review by petitioning for writ of 86 certiorari. 87 (c) “Lobbyist” means a person who is employed and receives 88 payment, or who contracts for economic consideration, for the 89 purpose of lobbying, or a person who is principally employed for 90 governmental affairs by another person or governmental entity to 91 lobby on behalf of such person or governmental entity. The term 92 does not include a person who: 93 1. Represents a client in a judicial proceeding or in a 94 formal administrative proceeding before a governmental entity. 95 2. Is an officer or employee of an agency acting in the 96 normal course of his or her duties. 97 3. Consults under contract with the governmental entity and 98 communicates with the entitys governing body or governing body 99 employee regarding issues related to the scope of services in 100 his or her contract. 101 4. Is an employee, an officer, or a board member of a 102 homeowners association, condominium association, or 103 neighborhood association when addressing, in his or her capacity 104 as an employee, an officer, or a board member of such 105 association, an issue impacting the association or its members. 106 5. Is a confidential informant who is providing, or wishes 107 to provide, confidential information to be used for law 108 enforcement purposes. 109 6. Is an expert witness who is retained or employed by an 110 employer, a principal, or a client to provide only scientific, 111 technical, or other specialized information provided in agenda 112 materials or testimony only in public hearings, provided that 113 the expert identifies such employer, principal, or client at 114 such hearing. 115 7. Seeks to procure a contract that is less than $20,000 or 116 a contract made pursuant s. 287.056. 117 (d) “Principal” has the same meaning as in s. 112.3215. 118 (e) “Principally employed for governmental affairs” means 119 that one of the employees principal or most significant 120 responsibilities to the employer is overseeing the employers 121 various governmental relationships or representing the employer 122 in its contacts made with an officer or employee of a 123 governmental entity. 124 (2) The Commission on Ethics shall create the Local 125 Government Lobbyist Registration System to register lobbyists 126 who wish to lobby governmental entities as provided in this 127 section. Beginning October 1, 2020, any governmental entity rule 128 or ordinance that requires lobbyist registration is preempted 129 and replaced by the registration system established by this 130 subsection. Additionally, a governmental entity may not require 131 classes or certifications or otherwise impose additional 132 requirements as a requisite for lobbyist registration. However, 133 in accordance with s. 112.326, a governmental entity may adopt a 134 rule or an ordinance to require compensation reporting and 135 disclosure of contacts that a lobbyist has made with an officer 136 or employee of a governmental entity and to restrict exchange of 137 money or other things of value between a lobbyist and officers 138 or employees of a governmental entity. 139 (3) Beginning October 1, 2020, a person may not lobby a 140 governmental entity until such person has electronically 141 registered as a lobbyist with the commission. Such initial 142 registration is due upon the person being retained to lobby and 143 is renewable annually on the anniversary of the lobbyists 144 registration or in the month of the lobbyists birth, as 145 selected by the lobbyist at the time of registration. The 146 commission shall request authorization from the principal using 147 the principals name, business address, e-mail address, and 148 telephone number to confirm that the registrant is authorized to 149 represent the principal. The principal or principals 150 representative shall identify and designate its main business 151 pursuant to the North American Industry Classification System 152 (NAICS) six-digit numerical code that most accurately describes 153 its main business. Registration is incomplete until the 154 commission receives the principals authorization. Any changes 155 to the information required by this subsection must be disclosed 156 within 15 days after such change by the lobbyist updating his or 157 her registration. The commission may require separate 158 registration submissions for each county and multi-county 159 governmental entity, but each such submission must include any 160 governmental entity in the county for which the submission is 161 made. The commission may allow for streamlined registration for 162 all governmental entities. A person required to register as a 163 lobbyist under this subsection shall register through the 164 electronic system and shall attest to the following: 165 (a) His or her full legal name, birth month, e-mail 166 address, telephone number, and business address. 167 (b) The name, e-mail address, telephone number, and 168 business address of each principal represented. 169 (c) The name of each governmental entity lobbied or 170 intended to be lobbied on behalf of the principal. 171 (d) Any direct or indirect business association, 172 partnership, or financial relationship with an official or 173 employee of a governmental entity lobbied or intended to be 174 lobbied on behalf of the principal. 175 (4) The commission shall publish on the Internet a lobbyist 176 directory that contains all lobbyist registrations. 177 (5) A lobbyist shall promptly provide a written statement 178 to the commission canceling the designation of a principal upon 179 termination of such representation. The commission may cancel a 180 lobbyists designation of a principal upon receipt of 181 notification by the principal that the lobbyist is no longer 182 authorized to represent such principal. 183 (6) A governmental entity must make reasonable efforts to 184 ascertain whether a person who lobbies that entity has 185 registered pursuant to this section. A governmental entity may 186 not knowingly authorize an unregistered lobbyist to lobby the 187 entity. 188 (7)(a) Upon discovery of a violation of this section, a 189 person or governmental entity may file a sworn complaint with 190 the commission. Except as provided in subsection (8), the 191 commission shall investigate every sworn complaint that is filed 192 which alleges that a person covered by this section has failed 193 to register or has knowingly submitted false information in any 194 registration required in this section. 195 (b) If the commission finds no probable cause to believe 196 that a violation of this section has occurred, it shall dismiss 197 the complaint and send a copy of the complaint, findings, and 198 summary to the complainant and the alleged violator. If the 199 commission finds probable cause to believe that a violation of 200 this section has occurred, it shall report the results of its 201 investigation to the Governor and send, by certified mail, a 202 copy of the report to the alleged violator. A person who the 203 commission finds probable cause to believe has violated this 204 section is entitled to a public hearing upon timely submission 205 of a written request for a hearing to the Governor. Such person 206 is deemed to have waived his or her right to a public hearing if 207 the request is not received within 14 days after a copy of the 208 report is mailed to him or her. However, the Governor may 209 require a public hearing and may conduct such further 210 investigation as he or she deems necessary. 211 (c) If the Governor determines that a violation occurred, 212 he or she may reprimand, censure, or assess a civil penalty 213 against the violator in accordance with this section. 214 (8)(a) Upon a first complaint to the commission alleging a 215 violation of subsection (3) against a lobbyist, or upon any 216 complaint against a lobbyist received before January 1, 2021, 217 the commission shall, within 30 days after receipt of the 218 complaint, issue a warning letter to the lobbyist directing him 219 or her to consult the obligations of lobbyists under this 220 section and shall dismiss the complaint. 221 (b) For complaints against a lobbyist received on or after 222 January 1, 2021, notwithstanding the civil penalties in s. 223 112.317, a lobbyist found by the commission to have violated 224 subsection (3) is subject to: 225 1. For a first violation, a civil penalty not to exceed 226 $500. 227 2. For a second or subsequent violation committed within 12 228 months after the Governor determines that a first violation has 229 been committed, a civil penalty of at least $200 but not more 230 than $1,000 or a 1-year suspension from lobbying any 231 governmental entity associated with the violation. A 232 governmental entity may impose additional civil penalties not to 233 exceed $500 per violation, and, notwithstanding paragraph (c), 234 may suspend the lobbyist from lobbying the governmental entity 235 and its agencies on behalf of any principal for a period of up 236 to 2 years. 237 (c) The civil penalties and suspensions provided in this 238 subsection must be applied on a per-principal basis with 239 suspensions affecting only those principals for whom 240 unregistered lobbying occurred. 241 (9) By January 1, 2021, a governmental entitys governing 242 body, or the entitys designee, shall notify the commission of 243 any ordinance or rule that imposes additional or more stringent 244 obligations with respect to lobbyist compensation reporting, or 245 other conduct involving lobbying activities, and shall forward 246 to the commission a copy of any associated form that has been 247 established to facilitate compliance with such ordinance or 248 rule. By January 1, 2022, each governmental entity shall conform 249 its lobbyist regulation system, if any, to accommodate regular 250 digital distribution of lobbyist registration data from the 251 commission so that initial registration of a lobbyist pursuant 252 to subsection (3) is accomplished without having to supply the 253 lobbyist and principal information to more than one lobbyist 254 regulation system. The commission shall cooperate to the extent 255 reasonably practicable to ensure such coordination of 256 information. 257 (10) The commission may adopt rules to establish procedures 258 for the administration of the Local Government Lobbyist 259 Registration System, including the staggering of registration 260 renewal dates based on the anniversary of the lobbyists 261 registration or the month of the lobbyists birth, as selected 262 by the lobbyist at the time of registration, and for the 263 adoption of forms, the method of registering specific entities 264 lobbied, and the exchange of information with governmental 265 entities. 266 (11) A person, when in doubt about the applicability and 267 interpretation of this section, may submit in writing to the 268 commission the facts of the situation with a request for an 269 advisory opinion to establish the standard of duty. An advisory 270 opinion shall be rendered by the commission and, until amended 271 or revoked, is binding on the conduct of the person who sought 272 the opinion, unless material facts were omitted or misstated in 273 the request. 274 Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 125.001, Florida 275 Statutes, is amended to read: 276 125.001 Board meetings; notice.— 277 (1) Upon the giving of due public notice, regular and 278 special meetings of the board may be held at any appropriate 279 public place in the county. Except in the case of emergency 280 meetings, the board shall provide notice of any meeting of the 281 board at least 7 days in advance by posting a notice on the 282 countys website. Additionally, the notice must include a 283 statement of the general subject matter to be considered by the 284 board. 285 Section 5. Subsection (3) is added to section 166.0213, 286 Florida Statutes, to read: 287 166.0213 Governing body meetings.— 288 (3) Except in the case of emergency meetings, the governing 289 body of a municipality shall provide notice of any meeting of 290 the governing body at least 7 days in advance by posting a 291 notice on the municipalitys website. Additionally, the notice 292 must include a statement of the general subject matter to be 293 considered by the governing body. 294 Section 6. The Legislature finds that a proper and 295 legitimate state purpose is served when mechanisms are 296 established to secure and sustain the publics trust in public 297 officers and employees. Therefore, the Legislature determines 298 and declares that this act fulfills an important state interest. 299 Section 7. This act shall take effect October 1, 2020.
|01/14/2020||Senate||Introduced -SJ 58|
|11/21/2019||Senate||Referred to Ethics and Elections; Community Affairs; Rules -SJ 58|