HB 1145

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to the Legislature; amending s. 11.143,
3F.S.; eliminating authority for members of a legislative
4committee to administer certain oaths and affirmations to
5witnesses; eliminating penalties for false swearing before
6a legislative committee; conforming to the creation of new
7provision relating to oaths and affirmations before a
8legislative committee; creating s. 11.1435, F.S.;
9requiring persons who address a legislative committee to
10take an oath or affirmation of truthfulness; providing
11exceptions; requiring a member of the legislative
12committee to administer the oath or affirmation; providing
13criminal penalties for certain false statements before a
14legislative committee; authorizing the use of a signed
15appearance card in lieu of an oral oath or affirmation;
16prescribing conditions related to the use of the card;
17providing for penalties for making a false statement after
18signing the card; providing an effective date.
20Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
22     Section 1.  Section 11.143, Florida Statutes, is amended to
24     11.143  Standing or select committees; powers.--
25     (1)(a)  Each standing or select committee, or subcommittee
26thereof, is authorized to invite public officials and employees
27and private individuals to appear before the committee for the
28purpose of submitting information to it.
29     (b)  Each such committee is authorized to maintain a
30continuous review of the work of the state agencies concerned
31with its subject area and the performance of the functions of
32government within each such subject area and for this purpose to
33request reports from time to time, in such form as the committee
34designates, concerning the operation of any state agency and
35presenting any proposal or recommendation such agency may have
36with regard to existing laws or proposed legislation in its
37subject area.
38     (2)  In order to carry out its duties, each such committee
39is empowered with the right and authority to inspect and
40investigate the books, records, papers, documents, data,
41operation, and physical plant of any public agency in this
42state, including any confidential information.
43     (3)(a)  In order to carry out its duties, each such
44committee, whenever required, may issue subpoena and other
45necessary process to compel the attendance of witnesses before
46such committee, and the chair thereof shall issue the process on
47behalf of the committee, in accordance with the rules of the
48respective house. The chair or any other member of such
49committee may administer all oaths and affirmations in the
50manner prescribed by law to witnesses who appear before the
51committee for the purpose of testifying in any matter concerning
52which the committee desires evidence.
53     (b)  Each such committee, whenever required, may also
54compel by subpoena duces tecum the production of any books,
55letters, or other documentary evidence, including any
56confidential information, it desires to examine in reference to
57any matter before it.
58     (c)  Either house during the session may punish by fine or
59imprisonment any person not a member who has been guilty of
60disorderly or contemptuous conduct in its presence or of a
61refusal to obey its lawful summons, but such imprisonment must
62not extend beyond the final adjournment of the session.
63     (d)  The sheriffs in the several counties or a duly
64constituted agent of a Florida legislative committee 18 years of
65age or older shall make such service and execute all process or
66orders when required by such committees. Sheriffs shall be paid
67as provided for in s. 30.231.
68     (4)(a)  Whoever willfully affirms or swears falsely in
69regard to any material matter or thing before any such committee
70is guilty of false swearing, which constitutes a felony of the
71second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
72or s. 775.084.
73     (b)  If a witness fails to respond to the lawful subpoena
74of any such committee at a time when the Legislature is not in
75session or, having responded, fails to answer all lawful
76inquiries or to turn over evidence that has been subpoenaed,
77such committee may file a complaint before any circuit court of
78the state setting up such failure on the part of the witness. On
79the filing of such complaint, the court shall take jurisdiction
80of the witness and the subject matter of the complaint and shall
81direct the witness to respond to all lawful questions and to
82produce all documentary evidence in the possession of the
83witness which is lawfully demanded. The failure of a witness to
84comply with such order of the court constitutes a direct and
85criminal contempt of court, and the court shall punish the
86witness accordingly.
87     (5)  All witnesses summoned before any such committee shall
88receive reimbursement for travel expenses and per diem at the
89rates provided in s. 112.061. However, the fact that such
90reimbursement is not tendered at the time the subpoena is served
91does not excuse the witness from appearing as directed therein.
92     Section 2.  Section 11.1435, Florida Statutes, is created
93to read:
94     11.1435  Oath or affirmation; penalty.--
95     (1)(a)  Any person who addresses a standing or select
96committee, or subcommittee thereof, shall first declare that he
97or she will speak truthfully, by taking an oath or affirmation
98in substantially the following form: "Do you swear or affirm
99that the information you are about to share will be the truth,
100the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" The person's answer
101shall be noted in the record.
102     (b)  Paragraph (a) does not apply to:
103     1.  A member of the Legislature in his or her official
105     2.  An employee of the Legislature in his or her capacity
106as an employee.
107     3.  A minor, if the chair of the committee determines the
108minor understands the duty to tell the truth or the duty not to
110     (c)  The chair or any other member of the committee shall
111administer the oath or affirmation required under paragraph (a).
112     (2)(a)  Except as provided in paragraph (b), whoever makes
113a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true,
114under the oath or affirmation required by this section in regard
115to any material matter, commits a felony of the third degree,
116punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
117     (b)  Whoever is compelled by subpoena as a witness before a
118committee under s. 11.143(3) and who makes a false statement,
119which he or she does not believe to be true, under the oath or
120affirmation required by this section in regard to any material
121matter, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as
122provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
123     (3)  In lieu of the oral oath or affirmation required by
124this section, the Senate or the House of Representatives may by
125the rules of each respective house require any person, as
126prescribed in subsection (1), who addresses a committee to
127complete and sign an appearance form. The form must be signed
128before the person addresses the committee. Signing the form
129constitutes a written affirmation to speak the truth, the whole
130truth, and nothing but the truth, and subjects the person to the
131penalties as provided in this section. The form must include a
132statement notifying the person that signing the form constitutes
133an affirmation and notifying the person of the penalty
135     Section 3.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2007.

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