HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES STAFF ANALYSIS
BILL #: CS/HB 199 Conflicting Employment or Contractual Relationships for Public Officers or
Employees
SPONSOR(S): Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee; Hunschofsky; Daley
TIED BILLS: IDEN./SIM. BILLS: SB 620
REFERENCE ACTION ANALYST STAFF DIRECTOR or
BUDGET/POLICY CHIEF
1) Ethics, Elections & Open Government 18 Y, 0 N, As CS Poreda Toliver
Subcommittee
2) Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special
Districts Subcommittee
3) State Affairs Committee
SUMMARY ANALYSIS
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees (Code of Ethics) prohibits a public officer or agency
employee from having an employment or contractual relationship with a business entity or agency that is
subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, his or her agency. However, a limited exception exists for
public officers and employees of water control districts and certain kinds of special taxing districts that are
limited to constructing, maintaining, managing, and financing improvements in the land area over which the
district has jurisdiction, which specifically allows public officers and employees of those entitles to be employed
by, and enter into contractual relationship with business entities or agencies subject to the regulation of, or
doing business with the district.
The Code of Ethics requires constitutional officers, elected municipal officers, and commissioners of
community redevelopment agencies to complete four hours of ethics training annually that, at a minimum,
addresses s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, the Code of Ethics, and Florida law on public records and
public meetings
The bill that conduct by a public officer or employee of a water control district or a special tax district created by
general or special law that is limited specifically to constructing, maintaining, managing, and financing
improvements in the land area over which the agency has jurisdiction, that would constitute a misuse of public
position or violate the prohibition on disclosing information that is not otherwise available to the public for their
own personal benefit would be considered an impermissible conflict of interest.
The bill requires four hours of annual ethics training for elected local officers of independent special districts,
provides requirements for such training, and specifies training content.
The bill does not appear to have a fiscal impact on either state or local governments.
This docum ent does not reflect the intent or official position of the bill sponsor or House of Representatives .
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FULL ANALYSIS
I. SUBSTANTIVE ANALYSIS
A. EFFECT OF PROPOSED CHANGES:
Background
Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees (Code of Ethics) 1 establishes ethical standards
for public officials and is intended to ensure that public officials conduct themselves independently and
impartially, not using their offices for private gain other than compensation provided by law.2 The Code
of Ethics pertains to various ethical issues, such as ethics trainings, voting conflicts, full and public
disclosure of financial interests, standards of conduct, the Commission on Ethics (Commission), among
others.3
Conflicting Employment or Contractual Relationship
The Code of Ethics prohibits a public officer or agency employee from having an employment or
contractual relationship with a business entity or agency that is subject to the regulation of, or is doing
business with, his or her agency.4 Current law further prohibits a public officer or agency employee
from having an employment or a contractual relationship that will create a continuing or frequently
recurring conflict between his or her private interests and the performance of his or her public duties or
that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his or her public duties. 5 The Code of Ethics
contains several exceptions to these prohibitions.
Special District Exception
The Code of Ethics allows public officers and public employees of water control districts and special tax
districts created by general or special law that are limited specifically to constructing, maintaining,
managing, and financing improvements in the land area over which the agency has jurisdiction, to be
employed by, or enter into a contractual relationships with business entities that are subject to the
regulation of, or doing business with those special districts. 6 However, the Code of Ethics goes on to
provide that conduct by such officer or employee that is prohibited by, or otherwise frustrates the intent
of, the conflicting employment or contractual relationship provision of the code is deemed a conflict of
interest and is a violation of the code.
Legislative Body Exception
When the agency at issue is a legislative body and regulatory power resides in another agency or is
exercised strictly through enactment of laws or ordinances, then the Code of Ethics allows the public
officer or public employee to be employed by, or have a contractual relationship with a business entity
that is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with that legislative body. 7
Legally Required or Permitted Profession or Occupation Exception
The Code of Ethics provides that the general prohibition does not prohibit a public officer or employee
from practicing in a particular profession or occupation when such practice by persons holding such
public office or employment is required or permitted by law or ordinance.8
1 See Part III, Chapter 112, F.S.
2 Florida Commission on Ethics , Guide to the Sunshine Amendment and Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees , available
at http://www.ethics.state.fl.us/Documents/Publications/GuideBookletInternet.pdf (last visited Marc h 9, 2023)
3 See Part III, Chapter 112, F.S.
4 Section 112.313(7), F.S.
5 Id.
6 Section 112.313(7)(a)1., F.S.
7 Section 112.313(7)(a)2., F.S.
8 Section 112.313(7)(b), F.S.
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Other Exceptions
The code also contains several exemptions relating to certain objectively fair or de minimis
procurements, certain disclosed relationships, an emergency purchase or contract, certain non-profit
employment, and other comparable exceptions.9
Misuse of Public Position
The Code of Ethics prohibits public officers, employees of an agency, or local government attorneys
from corruptly using or attempting to use his or her official position, or any property or resource which
may be within his or her trust, or perform his or her official duties, to secure a special privilege, benefit,
or exemption for himself, herself, or others.10
Disclosure or Use of Certain Information
A current or former public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney is prohibited by
the Code of Ethics from disclosing or using information not available to the general public and gained
by reason of his or her official position for his or her personal gain or benefit or for the personal gain or
benefit of any other person or business entity.11 The prohibition does not apply to information relating
exclusively to governmental practices.12
Mandatory Annual Ethics Training
Current law requires constitutional officers,13 elected municipal officers, and commissioners of
community redevelopment agencies to complete four hours of ethics training annually that, at a
minimum, addresses s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution, the Code of Ethics, and Florida law on public
records and public meetings.14 Each officer subject to the annual ethics training requirement must
certify on his or her disclosure of financial interests reporting form that he or she has completed the
required training.15
The Code of Ethics applies to the governing boards of special districts.16 The Department of Economic
Opportunity may provide training for newly elected or appointed special district governing board
members, as its budget may permit, and such initial training includes instruction on the Code of
Ethics.17 However, state law does not require these individuals to receive annual ethics training.
Additionally, current law requires the Commission to adopt rules establishing minimum course
content for the portion of an ethics training class that addresses the constitutional ethics
provisions and the Code of Ethics.18 The Commission’s current rule19 requires course content to
include one or more of the following subjects:
 Doing business with one’s own agency;
 Conflicting employment or contractual relationships;
 Misuse of position;
 Disclosure or use of certain information;
9 Sections 112.313(12) and (15), F.S.
10 Section 112.313(6), F.S.
11 Section 112.313(8), F.S.
12 Id.
13 “Constitutional officers” includes the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer, th e
Commissioner of Agriculture, state attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs, tax collectors, property appraisers, supervisors of elections,
clerks of the circuit court, county commissioners, district school board members, and superintendents of schools.” Section
112.3142(1), F.S.
14 Section 112.3142(2), F.S.
15 Sections 112.3144(1) and 112.3145(5), F.S.
16 Section 189.012(6), F.S., defines a “special district” as “a unit of local government created for a special purpose, as oppos ed to a
general purpose, which has jurisdiction to operate within a limited geographic boundary and is created by general la w, special act,
local ordinance, or by rule of the Governor and Cabinet. The term does not include a school district, a community college district, a
special improvement district created pursuant to s. 285.17, a municipal service taxing or benefit unit as specified in s. 125.01, or a
board which provides electrical service and which is a political subdivision of a municipality or is part of a municipality.”
17 Section 189.063(1), F.S.
18 Section 112.3142(2)(d), F.S.
19 Rule 34-7.025, F.A.C.
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 Gifts and honoraria, including solicitation and acceptance of gifts, and unauthorized
compensation;
 Post-office holding restrictions;
 Restrictions on the employment of relatives;
 Voting conflicts when the constitutional officer is a member of a collegial body and votes
in his or her official capacity;
 Financial disclosure requirements, including the automatic fine and appeal process;
 Commission procedures on ethics complaints and referrals; and
 The importance of and process for obtaining advisory opinions rendered by the
Commission.
Effect of the Bill
The bill provides that conduct by a public officer or employee of a water control district or a special tax
district created by general or special law that is limited specifically to constructing, maintaining,
managing, and financing improvements in the land area over which the agency has jurisdiction, that
would constitute a misuse of public position or violate the prohibition on disclosing information that is
not otherwise available to the public for his or her personal benefit would be considered an
impermissible conflict of interest between his or her private interests and his or her public duties .
The bill requires elected local officers of independent special districts, and persons appointed to fill
those seats if vacant, to complete four hours of ethics training annually.20 The training must address, at
a minimum s. 8, Art. II of the Florida Constitution, the Code of Ethics, and the public records and public
meetings laws of the state. The bill allows the training requirement to be met by completing a
continuing legal education class or other continuing professional education class or seminar if the
required subject matter is covered therein. The bill also clarifies that elected local officers of
independent special districts that assume their office on or before March 31st , must complete their
annual ethics training by December 31st of the year their term begins; however, if their term starts after
March 31st , they are not required to complete the required ethics training until December 31st of the
following year.
B. SECTION DIRECTORY:
Section 1 amends s. 112.313, F.S., relating to the standards of conduct for public officers, employees
of agencies, and local government attorneys.
Section 2 amends s. 112.3142, F.S., relating to ethics training for specified constitutional officers,
elected municipal officers, and commissioners.
Section 3 provides an effective date of July 1, 2023.
II. FISCAL ANALYSIS & ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT
A. FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE GOVERNMENT:
1. Revenues:
None.
2. Expenditures:
None.
20An “independent special district” means a special district that is not a dependent special district under s. 189.12(2), F.S. A district
that includes more than one county is an independent special district unless the district lies wholly within the boundaries of a single
municipality. Section 189.012(3), F.S.
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B. FISCAL IMPACT ON LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
1. Revenues:
None.
2. Expenditures:
None.
C. DIRECT ECONOMIC IMPACT ON PRIVATE SECTOR:
None.
D. FISCAL COMMENTS:
None.
III. COMMENTS
A. CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES:
1. Applicability of Municipality/County Mandates Provision:
Not applicable. This bill does not appear to require counties or municipalities to spend funds or take
action requiring the expenditures of funds; reduce the authority that counties or municipalities have
to raise revenues in the aggregate; or reduce the percentage of state tax shared with counties or
municipalities.
2. Other:
None.
B. RULE-MAKING AUTHORITY:
None.
C. DRAFTING ISSUES OR OTHER COMMENTS:
None.
IV. AMENDMENTS/COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE CHANGES
On March 14, 2023, the Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee adopted a proposed
committee substitute (PCS) and reported the bill favorably as a committee substitute. The PCS differed
from the bill in that instead of removing the existing conflicting employment and contractual relationship
exemption for certain special tax districts and water control districts, it clarifies that certain conduct is still
prohibited regardless of the exemption, such as misuse of public position and disclosing information that is
not otherwise available to the public for their own personal benefit. The PCS also requires elected local
officers of independent special districts to undergo four hours of annual ethics training.
The analysis is drafted to the committee substitute adopted by the Ethics, Elections & Open Government
Subcommittee.
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Statutes affected:
H 199 Filed: 112.313
H 199 c1: 112.313