Posted 9 months ago on March 6, 2013, 9:46 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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But the measures also contain several changes that critics say would actually weaken existing laws.
“I think it would be a step forward in some ways but several steps backward in others,” said Philip Claypool, a lawyer who served as executive director of the Florida Commission on Ethics until retiring in 2011. “The net effect I don’t think would be progress.”
While the legislation allows lawmakers to place investments in a blind trust in an effort to prevent conflicts of interest, for example, it leaves out several safeguards contained in similar laws in other states and at the federal level, Claypool said.
The bills would also allow lawmakers who have filed erroneous or incomplete financial disclosure reports to correct the forms before the ethics commission can investigate, in essence preventing the body from fining officials for their transgressions.
“Basically, they can get away with paying even less attention to the accuracy of a report,” Claypool said.