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Jacksonville Ethics Commission to hold special meeting on state’s attempt to limit local control

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Ethics Commission will hold a special meeting Monday afternoon as they claim state lawmakers are pushing to weaken local ethics commissions.

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The commission with discuss 2 bills: 1 in the Florida Senate and the other in the Florida House. If the bills move forward, this could impact how the ethics commission operates.

The first bill of concern is Senate Bill 7014. The bill not only prevents members from launching self-initiating independent investigations, but it also shuts down accusations and complaints based on hearsay and requires complaints to be signed under oath.

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The second bill to be discussed is House Bill 1597. This bill would increase fines for violations of codes of ethics. It also revises time frames for investigation and reports of complaints from the committee.

Both the mayor and a city council member have expressed their thoughts on these bills.

In a letter, City Councilmember Matt Carlucci spoke out on these bills and said, “I am appalled by this regressive maneuver and the potential it has to undo decades of progress in ethical oversight.

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Just last week at a news conference, Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan also said she doesn’t want state legislators to diminish the city’s ethics rule.

“I would not like to see us diminish our ethics rules. I’d like to see them strengthened instead of being diminished, but we will weigh on it,” said Deegan.

The Jacksonville Ethics Commission is set to meet at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

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