September 23, 2020
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_h1201__
HB 1201

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to the Legislature; providing a short
3title; amending s. 11.143, F.S.; eliminating the authority
4of members of a legislative committee to administer
5certain oaths and affirmations to witnesses; eliminating
6penalties for false swearing before a legislative
7committee; conforming to the creation of new provisions
8relating to oaths and affirmations before a legislative
9committee; creating s. 11.1435, F.S.; requiring that
10persons addressing a legislative committee take an oath or
11affirmation of truthfulness; providing exceptions;
12requiring that a member of the legislative committee
13administer the oath or affirmation; providing criminal
14penalties for certain false statements before a
15legislative committee; authorizing the use of a signed
16appearance form in lieu of an oral oath or affirmation;
17prescribing conditions related to the use of such form;
18providing for penalties for making a false statement after
19signing such form; providing an effective date.
20
21Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
22
23     Section 1.  This act may be cited as the "Truth in
24Government Act."
25     Section 2.  Section 11.143, Florida Statutes, is amended to
26read:
27     11.143  Standing or select committees; powers.-
28     (1)(a)  Each standing or select committee, or subcommittee
29thereof, is authorized to invite public officials and employees
30and private individuals to appear before the committee for the
31purpose of submitting information to it.
32     (b)  Each such committee is authorized to maintain a
33continuous review of the work of the state agencies concerned
34with its subject area and the performance of the functions of
35government within each such subject area and for this purpose to
36request reports from time to time, in such form as the committee
37designates, concerning the operation of any state agency and
38presenting any proposal or recommendation such agency may have
39with regard to existing laws or proposed legislation in its
40subject area.
41     (2)  In order to carry out its duties, each such committee
42is empowered with the right and authority to inspect and
43investigate the books, records, papers, documents, data,
44operation, and physical plant of any public agency in this
45state, including any confidential information.
46     (3)(a)  In order to carry out its duties, each such
47committee, whenever required, may issue subpoena and other
48necessary process to compel the attendance of witnesses before
49such committee, and the chair thereof shall issue the process on
50behalf of the committee, in accordance with the rules of the
51respective house. The chair or any other member of such
52committee may administer all oaths and affirmations in the
53manner prescribed by law to witnesses who appear before the
54committee for the purpose of testifying in any matter concerning
55which the committee desires evidence.
56     (b)  Each such committee, whenever required, may also
57compel by subpoena duces tecum the production of any books,
58letters, or other documentary evidence, including any
59confidential information, it desires to examine in reference to
60any matter before it.
61     (c)  Either house during the session may punish by fine or
62imprisonment any person not a member who has been guilty of
63disorderly or contemptuous conduct in its presence or of a
64refusal to obey its lawful summons, but such imprisonment must
65not extend beyond the final adjournment of the session.
66     (d)  The sheriffs in the several counties or a duly
67constituted agent of a Florida legislative committee 18 years of
68age or older shall make such service and execute all process or
69orders when required by such committees. Sheriffs shall be paid
70as provided for in s. 30.231.
71     (4)(a)  Whoever willfully affirms or swears falsely in
72regard to any material matter or thing before any such committee
73is guilty of false swearing, which constitutes a felony of the
74second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
75or s. 775.084.
76     (b)  If a witness fails to respond to the lawful subpoena
77of any such committee at a time when the Legislature is not in
78session or, having responded, fails to answer all lawful
79inquiries or to turn over evidence that has been subpoenaed,
80such committee may file a complaint before any circuit court of
81the state setting up such failure on the part of the witness.  
82On the filing of such complaint, the court shall take
83jurisdiction of the witness and the subject matter of the
84complaint and shall direct the witness to respond to all lawful
85questions and to produce all documentary evidence in the
86possession of the witness which is lawfully demanded.  The
87failure of a witness to comply with such order of the court
88constitutes a direct and criminal contempt of court, and the
89court shall punish the witness accordingly.
90     (5)  All witnesses summoned before any such committee shall
91receive reimbursement for travel expenses and per diem at the
92rates provided in s. 112.061.  However, the fact that such
93reimbursement is not tendered at the time the subpoena is served
94does not excuse the witness from appearing as directed therein.
95     Section 3.  Section 11.1435, Florida Statutes, is created
96to read:
97     11.1435  Oath or affirmation; penalty.-
98     (1)(a)  Any person who addresses a standing or select
99committee, or subcommittee thereof, shall first declare that he
100or she will speak truthfully by taking an oath or affirmation in
101substantially the following form: "Do you swear or affirm that
102the information you are about to share will be the truth, the
103whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" The person's answer
104shall be noted in the record.
105     (b)  Paragraph (a) does not apply to:
106     1.  A member of the Legislature in his or her official
107capacity or an employee of the Legislature in his or her
108capacity as an employee; however, the member or employee shall
109be subject to discipline by the presiding officer of the
110applicable house of the Legislature for making a false statement
111that he or she does not believe to be true.
112     2.  A child, if the chair of the committee determines the
113child understands the duty to tell the truth or the duty not to
114lie.
115
116Notwithstanding the exceptions prescribed in this paragraph, a
117standing or select committee, or any subcommittee thereof, may,
118if it deems necessary, require any person who addresses the
119committee to take an oath or affirmation of truthfulness as
120provided in this section and subject to the penalties provided
121in this section.
122     (c)  The chair or any other member of the committee shall
123administer the oath or affirmation required under this section.
124     (2)(a)  Except as provided in paragraph (b), whoever makes
125a false statement that he or she does not believe to be true,
126under the oath or affirmation required by this section in regard
127to any material matter, commits a felony of the third degree,
128punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
129     (b)  Whoever is compelled by subpoena as a witness before a
130committee under s. 11.143(3) and makes a false statement that he
131or she does not believe to be true, under the oath or
132affirmation required by this section in regard to any material
133matter, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as
134provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
135     (3)  In lieu of the oral oath or affirmation required by
136this section, the Senate or the House of Representatives may by
137the rules of each respective house require any person, as
138prescribed in subsection (1), who addresses a committee to
139complete and sign an appearance form. The form must be signed
140before the person addresses the committee. Signing the form
141constitutes a written affirmation to speak the truth, the whole
142truth, and nothing but the truth and subjects the person to the
143penalties provided in this section. The form must include a
144statement notifying the person that signing the form constitutes
145an affirmation and notifying the person of the penalty
146provisions.
147     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.


CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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