Amendment 12

Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers

This amendment proposes some major changes to state ethics rules, most significantly to the laws regarding how long an elected official has to wait to start lobbying after they leave office (in other words, how long they have to wait to start making money off of their old connections).

This addresses the so-called revolving door problem, in which legislators go on to become lobbyists to the bodies of government they used to be a part of, potentially representing industries that used to donate to their campaigns.

The amendment, which originated with the Constitution Revision Commission, reads:

Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.

Right now in Florida, most officials only have to wait two years after leaving office to lobby the government body or agency they belonged to, and there are no restrictions at all regarding other levels of government.

The most significant change with this amendment, is bumping that time frame up to six years, and expanding it to include any part of state government, not just the part the official belonged to, as well as federal and local governments. The League of Women Voters says it’s the longest such ban in the U.S.

This amendment also expands the ban to include judges, cabinet members, and state agency department heads.

The amendment also bans all paid lobbying for local elected officials while they’re in office (let’s be real, that should have been banned already), and puts a six year ban on them lobbying their former governing body.

If you vote yes, you are voting to substantially increase the restrictions placed on former legislators and other officials when it comes to lobbying government after they leave their government post.

If you vote no, you are choosing to maintain the two-year lobbying ban.