Ethics bill takes shape in Florida Senate

Posted at 1:46 PM, Jan 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-15 08:50:19-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Senate committee is drafting a wide-ranging bill that would give the Ethics Commission more teeth to collect fines from officials who violate the law, seek to ban politicians from having routine meals and drinks paid for by political committees and restrict officials from profiting from their positions.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Commission said Tuesday it hopes to have the bill ready for a vote the week lawmakers begin their annual 60-day session on March 5. It's a high priority for new Senate President Don Gaetz.

Among other items, the committee agreed the Ethics Commission should be able to put liens on real estate owned by elected officials who don't pay fines for not submitting financial disclosure forms or similar violations.