Public Records/Probable Cause Finding (Watch)

Public Records/Probable Cause Finding (Watch)

SB 228 (Gruters) and HB 439 (Buchanan) amend provisions of the Florida Elections Code and the Florida Code of Ethics to address the potential misuse of the complaint process against candidates to influence elections. Current law provides that if a finding of probable cause is entered by the Elections Commission 30 days before the election with respect to which the alleged violation occurred, the finding may not become public until the day after the election.  The bills extend this timeframe from 30 days to 60 days. Similarly, current law provides that an ethics complaint and all related documents become public only when the Commission on Ethics makes a finding of probable cause. The bills specify that if the complaint is made against a candidate in a general, primary or special election and the finding of probable cause is made within 60 days before the election, that the complaint and related documents may not become public until the day after the election. (O’Hara)