April 02, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 2630
       
       
       
       By Senator Aronberg
       
       
       
       
       27-02081A-10                                          20102630__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Florida Commission on Ethics;
    3         amending s. 112.322, F.S.; authorizing the Commission
    4         on Ethics to initiate on its own volition an
    5         investigation of an alleged violation of the code of
    6         ethics and of any other breach of the public trust;
    7         amending s. 112.324, F.S.; providing that upon a
    8         written complaint executed under oath or affirmation
    9         by the executive director of the commission, the
   10         commission shall meet to determine if the commission
   11         should initiate a preliminary investigation of an
   12         alleged violation of the code of ethics or of any
   13         other alleged breach of the public trust; requiring
   14         the commission to vote by a specified majority to
   15         approve the preliminary investigation; requiring the
   16         commission to forward a copy of the commission’s order
   17         for a preliminary investigation to the alleged
   18         violator; amending s. 112.317, F.S.; increasing the
   19         civil penalty that may be imposed on public officers,
   20         employees, and others for violating the code of ethics
   21         and for any other breach of the public trust;
   22         providing an effective date.
   23  
   24  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   25  
   26         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 112.322, Florida
   27  Statutes, is amended to read:
   28         112.322 Duties and powers of commission.—
   29         (1) It is the duty of the Commission on Ethics to:
   30         (a) Receive and investigate sworn complaints of violation
   31  of the code of ethics as established in this part and of any
   32  other breach of the public trust, as provided in s. 8(f), Art.
   33  II of the State Constitution; and,
   34         (b)When appropriate as set forth in this part, initiate on
   35  its own volition an investigation of an alleged violation of the
   36  code of ethics as established in this part and any other breach
   37  of public trust, as provided in s. 8(f), Art. II of the State
   38  Constitution,
   39  
   40  including investigating investigation of all facts and parties
   41  materially related to the complaint at issue.
   42         Section 2. Subsections (1) and (3) of section 112.324,
   43  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   44         112.324 Procedures on complaints of violations; public
   45  records and meeting exemptions.—
   46         (1)(a) Upon a written complaint executed on a form
   47  prescribed by the commission and signed under oath or
   48  affirmation by any person, the commission shall investigate any
   49  alleged violation of this part or any other alleged breach of
   50  the public trust within the jurisdiction of the commission as
   51  provided in s. 8(f), Art. II of the State Constitution in
   52  accordance with procedures set forth herein. Within 5 days after
   53  receipt of a complaint by the commission, a copy of the
   54  complaint shall be transmitted to the alleged violator.
   55         (b)Upon a written complaint executed under oath or
   56  affirmation by the executive director of the commission, the
   57  commission shall meet to determine if the commission should
   58  initiate an investigation of an alleged violation of this part
   59  or any other alleged breach of the public trust within the
   60  jurisdiction of the commission as provided in s. 8(f), Art. II
   61  of the State Constitution. In order to begin a preliminary
   62  investigation, the commission must vote to approve the
   63  investigation by an affirmative vote of six of nine members.
   64  Within 5 days after the commission approves the preliminary
   65  investigation, a copy of the commission’s complaint shall be
   66  transmitted to the alleged violator.
   67         (3)(a) A preliminary investigation shall be undertaken by
   68  the commission of each legally sufficient complaint over which
   69  the commission has jurisdiction to determine whether there is
   70  probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred. If,
   71  upon completion of the preliminary investigation, the commission
   72  finds no probable cause to believe that this part has been
   73  violated or that any other breach of the public trust has been
   74  committed, the commission shall dismiss the complaint with the
   75  issuance of a public report to the complainant and the alleged
   76  violator, stating with particularity its reasons for dismissal
   77  of the complaint. At that time, the complaint and all materials
   78  relating to the complaint shall become a matter of public
   79  record.
   80         (b) If the commission finds from the preliminary
   81  investigation probable cause to believe that this part has been
   82  violated or that any other breach of the public trust has been
   83  committed, it shall so notify the complainant, the executive
   84  director of the commission, and the alleged violator in writing.
   85  The Such notification and all documents made or received in the
   86  disposition of the complaint shall then become public records.
   87  Upon request submitted to the commission in writing, any person
   88  who the commission finds probable cause to believe has violated
   89  any provision of this part or has committed any other breach of
   90  the public trust shall be entitled to a public hearing. The Such
   91  person is shall be deemed to have waived the right to a public
   92  hearing if the request is not received by the commission within
   93  14 days after following the mailing of the probable cause
   94  notification was mailed to the person required by this
   95  subsection. However, the commission may on its own motion,
   96  require a public hearing, may conduct such further investigation
   97  as it deems necessary, and may enter into such stipulations and
   98  settlements as it finds to be just and in the best interest of
   99  the state. The commission is without jurisdiction to, and no
  100  respondent may voluntarily or involuntarily, enter into a
  101  stipulation or settlement which imposes any penalty, including,
  102  but not limited to, a sanction or admonition or any other
  103  penalty contained in s. 112.317. Penalties shall be imposed only
  104  by the appropriate disciplinary authority as designated in this
  105  section.
  106         Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 112.317, Florida
  107  Statutes, is amended to read:
  108         112.317 Penalties.—
  109         (1) Violation of any provision of this part, including, but
  110  not limited to, any failure to file any disclosures required by
  111  this part or violation of any standard of conduct imposed by
  112  this part, or violation of any provision of s. 8, Art. II of the
  113  State Constitution, in addition to any criminal penalty or other
  114  civil penalty involved, shall, under applicable constitutional
  115  and statutory procedures, constitute grounds for, and may be
  116  punished by, one or more of the following:
  117         (a) In the case of a public officer:
  118         1. Impeachment.
  119         2. Removal from office.
  120         3. Suspension from office.
  121         4. Public censure and reprimand.
  122         5. Forfeiture of no more than one-third salary per month
  123  for no more than 12 months.
  124         6. A civil penalty not to exceed $50,000 $10,000.
  125         7. Restitution of any pecuniary benefits received because
  126  of the violation committed. The commission may recommend that
  127  the restitution penalty be paid to the agency of which the
  128  public officer was a member or to the General Revenue Fund.
  129         (b) In the case of an employee or a person designated as a
  130  public officer by this part who otherwise would be deemed to be
  131  an employee:
  132         1. Dismissal from employment.
  133         2. Suspension from employment for not more than 90 days
  134  without pay.
  135         3. Demotion.
  136         4. Reduction in salary level.
  137         5. Forfeiture of no more than one-third salary per month
  138  for no more than 12 months.
  139         6. A civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 $10,000.
  140         7. Restitution of any pecuniary benefits received because
  141  of the violation committed. The commission may recommend that
  142  the restitution penalty be paid to the agency by which the
  143  public employee was employed, or of which the officer was deemed
  144  to be an employee, or to the General Revenue Fund.
  145         8. Public censure and reprimand.
  146         (c) In the case of a candidate who violates the provisions
  147  of this part or s. 8(a) and (i), Art. II of the State
  148  Constitution:
  149         1. Disqualification from being on the ballot.
  150         2. Public censure.
  151         3. Reprimand.
  152         4. A civil penalty not to exceed $10,000.
  153         (d) In the case of a former public officer or employee who
  154  has violated a provision applicable to former officers or
  155  employees or whose violation occurred before the officer’s or
  156  employee’s leaving public office or employment:
  157         1. Public censure and reprimand.
  158         2. A civil penalty not to exceed $15,000 $10,000.
  159         3. Restitution of any pecuniary benefits received because
  160  of the violation committed. The commission may recommend that
  161  the restitution penalty be paid to the agency of the public
  162  officer or employee or to the General Revenue Fund.
  163         (e) In the case of a person who is subject to the standards
  164  of this part, other than a lobbyist or lobbying firm under s.
  165  112.3215 for a violation of s. 112.3215, but who is not a public
  166  officer or employee:
  167         1. Public censure and reprimand.
  168         2. A civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 $10,000.
  169         3. Restitution of any pecuniary benefits received because
  170  of the violation committed. The commission may recommend that
  171  the restitution penalty be paid to the agency of the person or
  172  to the General Revenue Fund.
  173         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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