Florida Senate - 2012                                    SB 1560
       By Senator Thrasher
       8-01444A-12                                           20121560__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to ethical requirements for public
    3         officers; creating s. 112.3131, F.S.; providing a
    4         restriction on employment with state universities or
    5         Florida College System institutions for a member of
    6         the Legislature; providing an exception; requiring
    7         that a member of the Legislature surrender employment
    8         with a state university or a Florida College System
    9         institution before seeking reelection; creating s.
   10         112.3142, F.S.; providing a legislative finding;
   11         providing that a public officer holding an economic
   12         interest in a qualified blind trust does not have a
   13         conflict of interest with matters pertaining to that
   14         economic interest; providing guidelines for
   15         communications and management relating to the
   16         qualified blind trust, to the public officer and
   17         persons having a beneficial interest in the trust, and
   18         to the trustee; requiring that a public officer report
   19         any beneficial interest in a qualified blind trust on
   20         required financial disclosure forms; requiring that a
   21         qualified blind trust meet certain criteria; providing
   22         criteria for the trust agreement; requiring that the
   23         public officer notify the Commission on Ethics of the
   24         trust agreement within a specified time; providing
   25         criteria for the notice; amending s. 112.3144, F.S.;
   26         requiring that the Commission on Ethics review the
   27         information contained in the public disclosure of
   28         financial interests filed by public officers;
   29         requiring that the commission notify the public
   30         officer of specific insufficiencies in the disclosure
   31         under certain circumstances; requiring that, upon
   32         receipt of the notice of insufficiency, the public
   33         officer file an amended or corrected disclosure by a
   34         specified date; providing that the amended or
   35         corrected disclosure is not subject to a sufficiency
   36         review; providing that the officer is subject to an
   37         automatic fine if the amended or corrected disclosure
   38         is not filed by a specified date; providing for appeal
   39         of the fine; providing that a public officer is
   40         entitled to a sufficiency review only if the
   41         disclosure of financial interests is timely filed;
   42         authorizing the commission to delegate sufficiency
   43         review duties to its staff; amending s. 112.3145,
   44         F.S.; adding a community redevelopment agency board
   45         and persons holding the position of finance director
   46         of a county, municipality, or other political
   47         subdivision to the definition of the term “local
   48         officer” for the purpose of disclosing financial
   49         interests and clients represented before an agency;
   50         providing an effective date.
   52  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   54         Section 1. Section 112.3131, Florida Statutes, is created
   55  to read:
   56         112.3131Restriction on employment with state universities
   57  or Florida College System institutions.—
   58         (1) A member of the Legislature may not be employed by, or
   59  have a contractual relationship with, a state university or a
   60  Florida College System institution while serving in the
   61  Legislature. A member of the Legislature may not become employed
   62  by, or have a contractual relationship with, a state university
   63  or a Florida College System institution for a period of 2 years
   64  after leaving service in the Legislature.
   65         (2) This section does not apply to any member of the
   66  Legislature employed by a state university or a Florida College
   67  System institution on July 1, 2012. However, the member of the
   68  Legislature shall surrender his or her employment before seeking
   69  reelection.
   70         Section 2. Section 112.3142, Florida Statutes, is created
   71  to read:
   72         112.3142Qualified blind trusts.—
   73         (1) The Legislature finds that if a public officer creates
   74  a trust and does not control the interests held by the trust,
   75  his or her official actions will not be influenced or appear to
   76  be influenced by private considerations.
   77         (2)If a public officer holds an economic interest in a
   78  qualified blind trust as described in this section, he or she
   79  does not have a conflict of interest prohibited under s.
   80  112.313(3) or (7) or a voting conflict of interest under s.
   81  112.3143 with regard to matters pertaining to that economic
   82  interest.
   83         (3) The public officer may not attempt to influence or
   84  exercise any control over decisions regarding the management of
   85  assets in a qualified blind trust. The public officer or any
   86  person having a beneficial interest in the qualified blind trust
   87  may not make any effort to obtain information with respect to
   88  the holdings of the trust, including obtaining a copy of any
   89  trust tax return filed or any information relating thereto,
   90  except as otherwise provided in this section.
   91         (4) Except for communications that consist solely of
   92  requests for distributions of cash or other unspecified assets
   93  of the trust, there shall be no direct or indirect communication
   94  with respect to the trust between the public officer or any
   95  person having a beneficial interest in the qualified blind trust
   96  and the trustee, unless such communication is in writing and
   97  unless it relates only to:
   98         (a) A request for a distribution from the trust which does
   99  not specify whether the distribution is to be made in cash or in
  100  kind;
  101         (b) The general financial interests and needs of the public
  102  officer or a person having a beneficial interest, including, but
  103  not limited to, an interest in maximizing income or long-term
  104  capital gain;
  105         (c) A notification of the trustee of a law or regulation
  106  subsequently applicable to the public officer which prohibits
  107  the officer from holding an asset and which notification directs
  108  that the asset not be held by the trust; or
  109         (d) A direction to the trustee to sell all of an asset
  110  initially placed in the trust by the public officer which, in
  111  the determination of the public officer, creates a conflict of
  112  interest or the appearance thereof due to the subsequent
  113  assumption of duties by the public officer.
  114         (5) The public officer shall report as an asset on his or
  115  her financial disclosure forms the beneficial interest in the
  116  qualified blind trust and its value, if the value is required to
  117  be disclosed. The public officer shall report the blind trust as
  118  a primary source of income on his or her financial disclosure
  119  forms and its amount, if the amount of income is required to be
  120  disclosed. The public officer is not required to report as a
  121  secondary source of income any source of income to the blind
  122  trust.
  123         (6) In order to constitute a qualified blind trust, the
  124  trust must be established by the public officer and meet the
  125  following requirements:
  126         (a) The person appointed as a trustee must not be:
  127         1. The public officer’s spouse, child, parent, grandparent,
  128  grandchild, brother, sister, parent-in-law, brother-in-law,
  129  sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, or first cousin, or the spouse of
  130  any such person;
  131         2. A person who is an elected or appointed public officer
  132  or a public employee; or
  133         3. A person who has been appointed to serve in an agency by
  134  the public officer or by a public officer or public employee
  135  supervised by the public officer.
  136         (b) The trust agreement that establishes the trust must:
  137         1. Contain a statement that its purpose is to remove from
  138  the grantor control and knowledge of investment of trust assets
  139  so that conflicts between the grantor’s responsibilities as a
  140  public officer and his or her private interests will be
  141  eliminated.
  142         2. Give the trustee complete discretion to manage the
  143  trust, including, but not limited to, the power to dispose of
  144  and acquire trust assets without consulting or notifying the
  145  covered public officer or any person having a beneficial
  146  interest in the trust.
  147         3. Prohibit communication between the trustee and the
  148  public officer and any person having a beneficial interest in
  149  the trust concerning the holdings or sources of income of the
  150  trust, except amounts of cash value or net income or loss, if
  151  such report does not identify any asset or holding, except as
  152  provided in this section.
  153         4. Provide that the trust tax return is prepared by the
  154  trustee or his or her designee and that any information relating
  155  thereto is not disclosed to the public officer or to any other
  156  beneficiary, except as provided in this section.
  157         5. Permit the trustee to notify the public officer of the
  158  date of disposition and value at disposition of any original
  159  investment or interest in real property to the extent required
  160  by federal tax law so that the information can be reported on
  161  the public officer’s applicable tax returns.
  162         6. Prohibit the trustee from disclosing to the public
  163  officer and any person having a beneficial interest in the trust
  164  any information concerning replacement assets to the trust,
  165  except for the minimum tax information that lists only the
  166  totals of taxable items from the trust and does not describe the
  167  source of individual items of income.
  168         (c) Within 5 business days after the agreement is executed,
  169  the public officer shall file a notice with the commission
  170  setting forth:
  171         1. The date that the agreement was executed;
  172         2. The name and address of the trustee; and
  173         3. The acknowledgement by the trustee that he or she has
  174  agreed to serve as trustee.
  175         Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 112.3144, Florida
  176  Statutes, is amended to read:
  177         112.3144 Full and public disclosure of financial
  178  interests.—
  179         (1)(a) An officer who is required by s. 8, Art. II of the
  180  State Constitution to file a full and public disclosure of his
  181  or her financial interests for any calendar or fiscal year shall
  182  file that disclosure with the Florida Commission on Ethics.
  183         (b)The commission shall review the information contained
  184  in each full and public disclosure of financial interests of,
  185  and any supporting or supplemental documentation filed
  186  concurrently by, an elected constitutional officer to determine
  187  whether the officer’s disclosure is sufficient; provided that
  188  the commission receives the filing by July 1.
  189         (c)1. If the commission determines that the officer’s
  190  disclosure is insufficient, the commission must send a notice by
  191  certified mail to the officer no later than 30 days after July
  192  1. The notice must identify the specific insufficiency and state
  193  with particularity the basis for the determination.
  194         2.Upon receipt of the notice of insufficiency, the officer
  195  must file an amended or corrected disclosure no later than
  196  September 1 of that year, which is not subject to sufficiency
  197  review. If the officer fails to file the amended or corrected
  198  disclosure by September 1, the automatic fine provided for in
  199  this section will begin to accrue. Any such officer accruing an
  200  automatic fine may appeal it as provided in subsection (5).
  201         3. A complaint may not be filed alleging a violation of
  202  this section for any insufficiency identified pursuant to
  203  subparagraph 1. unless such insufficiency remains uncorrected
  204  after September 1.
  205         (d) If the commission finds the disclosure legally
  206  sufficient, the commission must send a notice of sufficiency by
  207  certified mail to the officer no later than 30 days after July
  208  1. To the extent that the disclosure of financial interests and
  209  the accompanying documentation filed with the commission fully
  210  identify all information that is required to be disclosed, an
  211  officer whose disclosure is sufficient is not liable for any
  212  fines or penalties for a violation of this section.
  213         (e) If an officer’s full and public disclosure of financial
  214  interests is not received by 5 p.m. on July 1, the officer is
  215  not entitled to a sufficiency review.
  216         (f) The commission may delegate to its staff the authority
  217  to conduct the sufficiency reviews required in this subsection.
  218         Section 4. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
  219  112.3145, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  220         112.3145 Disclosure of financial interests and clients
  221  represented before agencies.—
  222         (1) For purposes of this section, unless the context
  223  otherwise requires, the term:
  224         (a) “Local officer” means:
  225         1. Any Every person who is elected to office in any
  226  political subdivision of the state or, and every person who is
  227  appointed to fill a vacancy for an unexpired term in such an
  228  elective office.
  229         2. Any appointed member of any of the following boards,
  230  councils, commissions, authorities, or other bodies of any
  231  county, municipality, school district, independent special
  232  district, or other political subdivision of the state:
  233         a. The governing body of the political subdivision, if
  234  appointed;
  235         b. An expressway authority or transportation authority
  236  established by general law;
  237         c. A community college or junior college district board of
  238  trustees;
  239         d. A board having the power to enforce local code
  240  provisions;
  241         e. A planning or zoning board, board of adjustment, board
  242  of appeals, community redevelopment agency board, or other board
  243  having the power to recommend, create, or modify land planning
  244  or zoning within the political subdivision, except for citizen
  245  advisory committees, technical coordinating committees, and such
  246  other groups who only have the power to make recommendations to
  247  planning or zoning boards;
  248         f. A pension board or retirement board having the power to
  249  invest pension or retirement funds or the power to make a
  250  binding determination of one’s entitlement to or amount of a
  251  pension or other retirement benefit; or
  252         g. Any other appointed member of a local government board
  253  who is required to file a statement of financial interests by
  254  the appointing authority or the enabling legislation, ordinance,
  255  or resolution creating the board.
  256         3. Any person holding one or more of the following
  257  positions: mayor; county or city manager; chief administrative
  258  employee of a county, municipality, or other political
  259  subdivision; county or municipal attorney; finance director of a
  260  county, municipality, or other political subdivision; chief
  261  county or municipal building code inspector; county or municipal
  262  water resources coordinator; county or municipal pollution
  263  control director; county or municipal environmental control
  264  director; county or municipal administrator, with power to grant
  265  or deny a land development permit; chief of police; fire chief;
  266  municipal clerk; district school superintendent; community
  267  college president; district medical examiner; or purchasing
  268  agent having the authority to make any purchase exceeding the
  269  threshold amount provided for in s. 287.017 for CATEGORY ONE, on
  270  behalf of any political subdivision of the state or any entity
  271  thereof.
  272         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.