Amendment 12 passes, tightening ethics rules for Florida public officials

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Florida voted "yes" on Constitutional Amendment 12 on Tuesday by at least 60 percent. The amendment will expand ethics rules for both elected officials and government employees, including judges.

The new rules under the constitutional amendment are complex, but essentially would bar public officials from lobbying during their terms and for six years after leaving office. They would also restrict current public officers from using their office for personal gain.

Amendment 12 was a single-issue amendment, meaning it wasn't bundled with another issue.

It received mixed support. Government watchdog group Integrity Florida and other ethics organizations backed Amendment 12, and the Naples Daily News editorial board recommended residents vote "yes."

On the flip side, the Florida Chamber was against the amendment, saying these issues should be addressed through the legislative process. Several Florida newspaper editorial boards recommended a "no" vote, saying the amendment was too far-reaching.

"We support a lobbying ban but six years is too far reaching, especially for government employees," wrote the Florida Today editorial board. "It might prevent good candidates from running for office."

Constitutional amendments need at least 60 percent approval to pass.

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