Posts Tagged ‘Public defenders’

House committee advances lobbying ban; impeachment power for attorneys, public defenders

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Florida lawmakers advanced two key pieces of legislation through the House Thursday, including one to lengthen the period before elected officials could begin lobbying after their time in office.
The other bill would make state attorneys and public defenders in each judicial district eligible for impeachment under the governor’s power.
In an overwhelming vote, the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee passed PCB PIE 17-01 and HJR 999, though there was thorough debate by both the public and committee members on each measure.
PCB PIE 17-01, which has yet to be given a bill number and was introduced by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, vice chair of the committee, leaps forward from two years to six years before a former Florida lawmaker can be compensated for through connections and inherent benefits legislators reap while employed in such positions.
The intention, Sullivan said, was to hedge off corruption while re-establishing integrity in elected officials. By waiting six years, those supposed connections in the Statehouse may no longer be there, she said.
“I think it’s really important that we instill trust in this process again,” she told the committee in closing the measure after debate. “I think we owe that to the (constituents).”
For years, corruption scandals have plagued Florida lawmakers, bringing about wide skepticism among the voters of the Sunshine State.
Rep. Chuck Clemons, Sr., agreed with the amendment in debate, referencing the widespread practice of lawmakers becoming lobbyists on behalf of special interest groups due to the close connections they typically still have after leaving office.
“How do you stop the revolving door unless you stop the revolving door,” he said. “This is the ‘kill the certain perks’ bill. This is the ‘no longer fresh’ bill. You’re serving because you believe in the rock bottom idea that you are serving to serve, not to gain anything.”
But Rep. David Richardson, while in favor of the measure, had concerns it

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Bill would let House impeach prosecutors, public defenders

Monday, February 13th, 2017

State Sen. Greg Steube wants to add prosecutors and public defenders to the list of officials that the House of Representatives can impeach.
The Sarasota Republican’s measure (SJR 904), filed Monday, would require a constitutional amendment that has to be passed by 60 percent of voters statewide.
The state constitution now authorizes the House to impeach the “governor, lieutenant governor, members of the cabinet, justices of the supreme court, judges of district courts of appeal, judges of circuit courts, and judges of county courts” for any “misdemeanor in office.”
Steube’s proposal would add “state attorneys and public defenders.” As with other officials, the Senate would have to put the impeached prosecutor or PD on trial.
The amendment would apply “to state attorneys and public defenders who hold office on or after the effective date” of the new language.
After years of no impeachment activity, state Rep. Larry Metz, the Yalaha Republican who chairs the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee, told committee members last month he had been quietly looking into articles of impeachment against a Jacksonville judge.
Metz said it was his idea to pursue impeaching Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III, for which Speaker Richard Corcoran gave his OK.
Hulsey, who eventually resigned from the bench, faced judicial misconduct charges over several improper comments, all of which he denied.
Neither Steube nor Metz could be immediately reached for comment Monday.
Both Buddy Jacobs, longtime lobbyist and general counsel for the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, and Nancy Daniels, spokeswoman for the Florida Public Defender Association, were out of the office Monday.
Daniels was the elected Public Defender for the state’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, based in Tallahassee, for nearly three decades.
The post Bill would let House impeach prosecutors, public defenders appeared first on Florida Politics.

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