TAMPA, Fla. — Amendment 12 focuses on ethics in government. If approved, the ballot question would expand restrictions to public officers who want to leave office and lobby the government.
As of right now, an official only has to wait two years after leaving office, and the ban only applies to the agency of government body that person served with. The current ban also only affects the state government. This ban would affect more government offices as well.
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Amendment 12 also bans public officers from using their office for a disproportionate benefit for themselves, their relatives or businesses. If the amendment is approved, disproportionate benefit will later be defined by Floridas Commission on Ethics. The Commission will also determine penalties for those who violate the law.
The amendment was put on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission after the Florida Legislature attempted to reform lobbying. The CRC meets every 20 years to create amendments for Floridians to vote on.
Opponents say they do not believe lobbying regulations (and many other issues) need to be added to the Florida Constitution.
The League of Women Voters is not taking an official position on the amendment, though they believe the amendment does not address the real issue of money in political campaigns.
State Representative Wengay Newton, D-St. Petersburg, approved putting the measure on the ballot. However, he says he will likely vote against it.
I dont think the constitution is the way to change this, Newton said. We can do this in the legislature.
Amendment 12 needs 60 percent of voter support to pass. If approved, the amendment would take affect by the end of 2022.
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