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Ethics Reform Clears a Pair of Senate Committees

Bills that would give the state Commission on Ethics more power to collect fines, prohibit legislators from voting on proposals that benefit them or lobbying any state agency for two years after leaving office, cleared two Senate committees on Wednesday.

Community Affairs backed Senate Bill 2 while Government Oversight supported Senate Bill 4.

I am proud that our Senate team continues to move these important reforms forward, creating a more ethical, and therefore stronger, Florida, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, stated in a release.

Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, have made ethics one of the priorities of the 2013 session in response to a number of ethical lapses by legislators in recent years

Senators began their first round of ethics training this week.

The ethical standards which have guided our elected officials have been too lax and ambiguous for far too long. Now our senators are two steps closer to providing our constituents with solutions, not excuses, to the abuses of power that continue to plague Floridas government. I commend Chair Latvala for continuing to work this important legislation through the process and look forward to seeing this good bill come to the Senate floor early in session.

SB 2 is focused on post office lobbying, putting financial disclosures online, bulking up the power of the Commission on Ethics, prohibiting state lawmakers from voting on issues that could cause a direct fiscal benefit, restricting legislators from taking jobs in a field they previously worked in that is related to their state service.

SB 4 lets the Commission on Ethics initiate investigations based on referrals from the governor, the Department of Law Enforcement, the state and U.S. attorneys.

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