Weatherford, Gaetz Release 5-Point Reform Agenda for 2013

Appearing together at the Associated Press’s annual pre-legislative session gathering, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, released a joint agenda that includes the revamping of how money is spent in campaigns and giving the state Commission on Ethics greater power to enforce and collect fines.

The agenda that the two expect both chambers to support focuses on ethics reform, campaign finance reform, higher education reform, pension reform and a review of the state’s election rules.

Weatherford said the joint agenda doesn’t mean the two chambers will be completely in harmony throughout the 2013 session, but “some issues should rise above and beyond the politics of the day.”

The 5-point “Work Plan Florida” includes:

 Ethics Reform. Holding elected officials to a higher standard by addressing a number of reported ethical concerns, including strengthening abstention and disclosure requirements for conflicts of interest and making the process surrounding financial disclosure more transparent and accountable.

 Campaign Finance Reform: Increasing accountability in Florida’s election system by ensuring more dollars are spent to directly influence elections, and increasing transparency through more frequent campaign finance reporting.

 Higher Education Reform: Initiating high-quality, affordable options that will keep our higher education system responsive to the realities of a post-recession digital economy through an expansion of online higher education and continued incentive support for college and university programs that produce high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations.

 Pension Reform: Ensuring long-term fiscal predictability for Florida taxpayers and retirees. Increasing transparency by standardizing accounting standards and recording requirements across local public-sector plans.

 Elections Review: Comprehensively reviewing Florida’s election law to provide local elections supervisors the flexibility needed to reduce wait times and ensure accurate and timely counting and reporting.

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