Thanks to the case discussed in this article (Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists v. Division of Legislative Information Services), we will soon know if Florida’s lobbyist regulations violate the state’s constitution.
A lawyer for Florida lobbyists told the state Supreme Court on Tuesday that it should throw out a three-year-old ethics law because lawmakers don’t have the authority to impose fines they created.
The law passed in 2005 bans lobbyists from giving gifts to legislators and other elected officials. It also requires them to file disclosure statements saying who pays them and how much.
If a lobbyist doesn’t comply or someone complains to the Legislature, lawmakers can investigate and punish lobbyists with up to a two-year suspension and a $5,000 fine. The law took effect Jan. 1, 2006.
Lobbyists had argued that requiring them to disclose their employers violated privacy and equal protection rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Case documents are here courtesy of the Florida Supreme Court.