Jeff Clemens files ethics bill requiring lawmakers to abstain from voting on legislation that would benefit them

in Uncategorized by

Echoing a major theme of Senate President Don Gaetz’s legislative goals for the 2013 Legislative Session, Senator Jeff Clemens has filed legislation that would prevent lawmakers from voting on legislation that would benefit themselves, their family or their employer.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for bi-partisanship, and I fully support President Gaetz’s push to bring ethics reform to the Florida Legislature,” Clemens said. “For elected officials to regain the public trust, the first thing we have to do is stop anyone from voting on issues that benefits them personally. That should be step one.” 

Senate Bill 272 calls for legislators to recuse themselves from voting on issues “that would inure to his or her special private gain or loss or that he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of his or her relative.”

The legislation calls for the Legislator to “publicly state to the body or committee all of his or her interests in the legislation or all of the relative’s interests in the legislation which are known to the member and, within 15 days after the date on which a vote on the legislation occurs, disclose the specific nature of those interests as a public record.”

Sen. Clemens, the former Mayor of the City of Lake Worth, said most cities and counties already have similar rules in place to prevent corruption and the appearance of impropriety.

“These aren’t earth shattering recommendations,” Clemens said. “These kinds of changes are the minimum amount of assurances that we should be giving the public. They deserve to know that we are to represent them, not ourselves.”

In fact, noted Senator Clemens, the changes he is seeking would codify in law new ethics rules implemented by Senator Gaetz in his first days as Senate President. He also gave special thanks to former Sen. Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland), who unsuccessfully sponsored identical legislation in previous years.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.