Travel Expenses, Reporting and Financial Disclosure (Oppose)

Travel Expenses, Reporting and Financial Disclosure (Oppose)

HB 815 (Avila) and SB 1180 (Steube) would imposes travel prohibitions, travel reimbursement limits, and travel reporting requirements on municipal officers and employees, and revises elections reporting requirements and financial disclosure requirements for elected municipal officers and candidates for elected municipal office.  

Travel: The bills require any out-of-state travel request by a municipal public officer to be approved by the municipal governing body at a public meeting. The travel request must be included on the public meeting agenda, along with an itemized list of anticipated travel expenses and costs, and opportunity for public testimony must be provided prior to a vote on the request. Authorized travel expenses may include only those expenses incurred by the officer 24 hours prior to the event and within 24 hours after the event necessitating the travel. Lodging reimbursement for travel within or outside the state by municipal officers or employees would be capped at $120 per day. The bills prohibit reimbursement of any expenses for foreign travel by municipal offices or employees. Finally, the bills would require all municipal public officers to file travel expense reports, including an explanation of the necessity for the travel, with the municipality’s or county’s ethics commission, or with the state Commission on Ethics if a county or municipal ethics commission is not established.

Financial Disclosure: SB 1180 would require all elected municipal officers, as well as candidates for elective municipal office, to file full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6). Beginning January 1, 2019, HB 815 would require all elected municipal officers to file full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6). In addition, the bills would require a current elected municipal officer who is a candidate for elective office to provide any reports filed pursuant to the Florida Elections Code to the municipality that he or she serves for posting on the municipality’s website.  (O’Hara)