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House passes 6-year lobbying ban on former lawmakers, others

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida House has approved extend the state’s lobbying ban on former lawmakers and statewide elected officers from two to six years.

With no debate, House members on Friday voted 110-3 for the measure (HB 7003), a priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran. The bill now heads to the Senate.

If signed into law, the measure would be the longest lobbying ban in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But it has raised constitutional concerns over free speech and restraint of trade among critics.

The new ban, carried by Larry Metz, the Yalaha Republican who chairs the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee, is aimed at “the perception, if not the reality, of the ‘revolving door,’ ” he has said.

It would apply “only to those individuals who were members of the Legislature after November 8, 2016, or who were statewide elected officers after November 8, 2016.”

Metz later said he said believes the longer ban will withstand legal attack because it addresses only paid lobbying.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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