All week, we’ve highlighted each of the amendments you’ll see on the ballot next month. You’ll vote not just for your elected officials, but also on 12 different amendments.
Amendment 12 is the lobbying amendment. The first part of amendment 12 expands lobbying restrictions for elected officials. Former state senator, now constitution revision commissioner, Don Gaetz, is sponsoring the amendment.
“Legislatures and city councils and county commissions are made up of ordinary human beings and they’re unlikely to raise the standard of ethics themselves,” he said.
Known as the ‘lobbying’ or ‘ethics’ amendment, it forbids any elected official from paid lobbying while in office and for six years after they’re out of office.
“Right now we have people who are in public office who audition for their jobs as lobbyists during their last year of public office,” Gaetz said.
The second part of the amendment prohibits the use of office for personal benefit.
Taxwatch is a nonprofit taxpayer research institute in Tallahassee. They don’t support the amendment.
“We already have a prohibition in place. Currently it’s two years until you can become a lobbyist. This would expand it to six years and be one of the most strict in the nation,” Kyle Baltuch, a Taxwatch economist, said.
“I think the biggest problem I have with it is I think it’s embarrassing that we as a state would have to have a provision in our constitution that says public officials can’t use their office for personal gain,” Bob Nave, the research vice president, said.
If it passes, the restrictions wont take effect until December of 2022.