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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate won't follow House's lead in upending rules for lobbyists



Already, watchers of the Florida Legislature can see the first break between the House and the Senate this year: Where Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran is going after lobbyists in tough new rules, President-designate Joe Negron's Senate rules released Tuesday do no such thing.

The proposed Senate rules largely include tweaks to arcane procedures: Legislative aides can no longer present bills on senators' behalf, the practice of "courtesy amendments" is ended and lawmakers will be required to undergo four hours of ethics training instead of just one.

Just one provision applies to lobbyists: A slightly-stricter-than-now rule saying that when former senators who are now registered lobbyists are on the floor of the Senate, they can't talk to sitting lawmakers about any bill pending in the Legislature.

Compare that to Corcoran, who plans to make lobbyists disclose which bills they're trying to influence, require former lawmakers wait six years before lobbying the House and force House members to file separate bills for any projects they want in the budget.

The contrast between the two chambers is anticipated. Of the budget rules, Negron previously told the Times/Herald that he disagreed with Corcoran.

"I respect the right of the House to produce its own rules on the budget, and I certainly think that there's a case to be made that there should be an opportunity for the public to be heard," Negron said. "But the budget process should not be shut down before the session starts. That results in less public input, not more public input."

Rules will be adopted at the organizational session next Tuesday.


[Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 5:41pm]


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