Please review the below update received from the Florida League of Cities regarding CRC Proposal 39 which would restrict municipalities from hiring a lobbyist to seek a legislative appropriation on the municipalities behalf. Please contact your F.A.C.E. Sergeant-at-Arms, Joe Petrick, at email@example.com or 561-768-0519 with any questions regarding this issue.
Follow Up on CRC Proposal 39 (Don Gaetz)
Restrictions on Lobbying by Elected Officials & Prohibitions on Use of Lobbyists by Local Governments
Yesterday afternoon, the full Constitution Revision Commission approved CRC Proposal 39 by a vote of 28-5. An amendment by Senator Tom Lee was also adopted (Amendment #634136) by a vote of 17-15.
Proposal 39 will now go to the CRC Style and Drafting Committee, which can further amend or combine proposals prior to a final vote on the CRC floor. If your city has specific concerns with the Amendment to Proposal 39, please share your concerns with members of the Style and Drafting Committee.
Restricts Lobbying by Elected Officials
- P 39 would prohibit elected municipal officers from paid lobbying while in office and for 6 years following term of office:
- Prohibits elected officials from lobbying before any other governmental entity (federal, state, county, municipal, or district) while in office.
- Prohibits elected officials from lobbying before their former governing body for 6 years after leaving office.
- P 39 does not prohibit elected officials from representing their government before any other governmental entity if such action is within the duties of the office.
Prohibits Local Governments from Retaining Lobbyists for Appropriations
- Amendment #417664 (Tom Lee)
- Prohibits political subdivisions (includes municipalities) from retaining lobbyists to seek legislative appropriations.
- Allows political subdivisions (includes municipalities) to retain lobbyists only for advocating for or against policy issues.
- It is unclear whether the prohibition would extend to federal appropriations in addition to state appropriations.
- CRC members have expressed reluctance over putting matters in the Constitution that can be handled by the Legislature. P39 and the Lee Amendment are good examples of something best handled by the Legislature. In fact, matters substantially similar to P 39 were included in a bill (HB 7007) in the 2018 legislative session that passed the House unanimously.
- The state Code of Ethics expresses intent to protect the integrity of government and to prescribe restrictions against conflicts of interest without creating unnecessary barriers to public service. The state Code of Ethics currently provides stringent standards for the actions of elected officials and can be made more stringent if necessary by legislative action. It is unwise to cement provisions in the constitution that may have unintended consequences, such as by creating barriers to public service by professionals who would be forced to choose between their career and public service.
- Prohibiting local governments from retaining lobbyists for legislative appropriations will lead to greater disparity between the "haves and have nots" in the appropriations process
- Non-government entities will have greater influence in the appropriations process
- Appropriations needs of political subdivisions will be more vulnerable to partisan influences in the appropriations process
- Political subdivisions that require legislative appropriations will be required to devote staff to participate in the legislative appropriations process (including costs of salary, benefits, travel to Tallahassee, etc.) or hope their legislator will handle their appropriations request along with the other competing appropriations needs of other governmental entities represented by that legislator.
Who Should be Concerned
- Elected officials that also have a job or profession that requires them to represent people or entities before other governmental entities (P 39).
- Municipalities that want to retain lobbyists for appropriations (Lee Amendment to P 39).
Style and Drafting Committee Members
Brecht Heuchan, Chair
Carolyn Timmann, Vice Chair
Anna Marie Hernandez Gamez
Dr. Gary Lester