Florida Representatives Unite to Gut Financial Disclosure Bill

In an unusual display of bipartisan unity, Republican and Democrat representatives in Florida came together to block a bill that would have relaxed financial requirements for local officials. The bill, known as HB 735, was authored by Republican Rep. Alex Andrade and was effectively killed after an amendment was introduced by fellow Republican Rep. Spencer Roach.

The Amendment and the Aftermath

Roach’s amendment was a game-changer. It sought to retain the financial disclosure requirements for elected officials in towns with fewer than 500 residents. This caught many off-guard as such a move, known as an “unfriendly” amendment, is typically only seen from Democrats in the minority. However, in this case, Republican leadership embraced the change.

Following the amendment’s passage, Andrade withdrew his original bill from House consideration. This move was seen by many as a direct rebuke of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, despite the Governor not publicly endorsing HB 735.

Dissecting the Drama

The saga of HB 735 took a dramatic turn when it reached the House State Affairs Committee. Roach, vice-chair of the panel, was surprised by an amendment that reversed the policy for small towns, exempting their elected officials from filling out Form 6 financial disclosures. Andrade, however, stated that the controversial language was not his choice and was forced upon him in State Affairs.

Speculation about the origin of the financial disclosure language has been rife, with theories ranging from the Governor’s Office to House leadership. Nevertheless, the lack of consensus on this issue further fuels the intrigue surrounding the bill.

Implications and Repercussions

The amendment was eventually passed with a 66-37 vote, demonstrating that party affiliations held little sway in this decision. The unusual voting pattern suggests that this issue may have been about more than just financial disclosures. Some lawmakers suggested that the move was a message to the Senate. Others saw it as a chance to oppose language supported by DeSantis.

Overall, the drama surrounding HB 735 serves as a reminder of the complexities and unpredictability of legislative politics. It’s a testament to how a seemingly minor piece of legislation can turn the House floor into a stage for political theatre, with the outcome impacting not just local officials, but also the dynamics within the legislature itself.

About The Author

Scroll to Top