Dangerous Florida Ethics Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Legislature passed a dangerous, anti-democratic ethics bill, CS/SB 7014, that will make it almost impossible for Floridians’ to file ethics complaints against government officials who violate the public trust.

The bill also includes restrictions on local ethics boards. If this bill is signed into law by the Governor, boards like the ones in Miami and Tallahassee will no longer be able to pursue self-initiated investigations from anonymous credible whistleblowers.

The bill cites that “personal knowledge” of a violation is required to have the Florida Commission on Ethics begin a formal investigation. However, the only people who have “personal knowledge” of a violation of the law are those who are committing the violation or those likely to be involved in the violation.

Now, the bill will head to the Governor’s desk.

In response, Amy Keith, executive director of Common Cause Florida issued the following statement:

“This bill has huge implications for public trust and transparency. It undermines the will of the people and will allow corruption to go unchallenged if it comes into law.

“Let’s not forget the legislature’s actions: the process for amending bills on the floor was used to insert last minute ‘poison pill’ amendments with no opportunity for public comment. These amendments were designed to paralyze ethics complaints against public officials who have violated the public trust. This isn’t about minimizing frivolous complaints; this is about making complaints almost impossible. The people of Florida deserve accountability and transparency and the right to demand it of officials.  

“The Florida Legislators who voted in favor of this bill failed to protect the integrity of our democracy. Instead, they chose to hide from accountability and silence the voices of Floridians who are trying to uphold our collective values.

“Common Cause Florida calls on Governor DeSantis to veto this bill if he believes that Floridians deserve protection from corruption. We will continue to defend and strengthen the core democratic structures and tools that enable the people of Florida to mobilize and hold their leaders accountable.”