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Ethics Training Begins for Senators

Florida senators will undergo their first round of ethics training on Tuesday and Wednesday as pushed by Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

During the training sessions in the Senate Office Building, a review of ethics guidelines will be given, with topics ranging from conflicts of interest, disclosure obligations, to lobbying and gift ban laws.

Floridas Sunshine Law related to public records rules and open meeting requirements will be discussed.

The course is part of Gaetzs reform package which senators approved for the 2013 session in November.

Under the proposed changes, senators:

-- Would have to take a course in ethics prior to legislative sessions on odd numbered years.

-- Must abstain from votes involving a personal conflict of interest.

-- Must disclose why they or family members or business interests have a conflict of interest.

In October, Gaetz called for a number of ethics changes, including matching the House version of disclosure rules that require legislators to declare any potential conflict prior to a vote.

The proposals were drafted by Gaetz and Sens. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, Chris Smith, D-Oakland Park, Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.

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