Changes made to the ethics laws during the 2013 legislative session require Florida's Constitutional officers (including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, Commissioner of Agriculture, state attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs, tax collectors, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, clerks of the circuit court, county commissioners, district school board members, and superintendents of schools) to take a minimum of four hours of ethics training each year. Section 112.3142, Florida Statutes
Changes made to the ethics laws during the 2014 legislative session require Florida's elected municipal officers to take a minimum of four hours of ethics training each year, beginning January 1, 2015. Section 112.3142, Florida Statutes
Constitutional and elected municipal officials should complete the required training as close as possible to the date that they assume office. A constitutional or elected municipal official who assumes a new office on or before March 31 must complete the annual training on or before December 31 of the year in which the term of office began. However, if the new term of office begins after March 31, the officer is not required to complete the training for the calendar year in which the term of office began.
The training is required to include:
- Article II, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution
- Part III, Chapter 112, Florida Statutes (Code of Ethics)
- Public Records
- Public Meetings (Sunshine Law)
The Commission is authorized to make rules concerning the course content for the ethics portion of the training. That rule is found in Rule Chapter 34-7.025, Florida Administrative Code.
The Commission adopted CEO 13-15 at its meeting on September 13, 2013. The opinion addresses a number of questions regarding the training requirement found in Section 112.3142, Florida Statutes
The Commission adopted CEO 13-24 at its meeting on December 18, 2013. The opinion addresses the composition of the training hours.
The Commission adopted CEO 14-29 at its meeting on December 17, 2014. The opinion indicates that elected members of the governing board of a special district are not elected municipal officers subject to the training requirement.
The Commission adopted CEO 15-05 at its meeting on June 5, 2015. The opinion indicates that constitutional officers and elected municipal officers are not subject to the training requirement in the calendar year in which they leave public office.
Reporting completed training:
Beginning with the financial disclosure forms that were due July 1, 2015, there is a check box on the Form 6 for Constitutional officers to certify that they completed the required training in 2014. Elected municipal filers will not see the check box on the Form 1 until they receive the 2015 form, which will be due July 1, 2016.
The following links allow you to watch short training videos or hear audio on specific ethics topics. These training modules were prepared by Ethics Commission staff members.
- Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, and the Public Records and Public Meetings Laws
Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees Video Tutorial (1 hour and 38 minutes)
Public Records and Public Meetings Laws Video Tutorial (1 hour)
These presentations address the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, and the public records and public meetings laws of this state as applicable to members of the Legislature. It was originally created for members of the Senate, but can be useful to many others.
- Voting Conflicts - Local Officers (Video Tutorial)
This 55-minute presentation addresses the voting conflicts statute as it applies to local officers. It discusses the differences in voting conflicts at the state and local level, as well as the circumstances in which a voting conflict for a local officer will not be found. Finally, it covers how a local officer should respond if a voting conflict is presented.
- Voting Conflicts - State Officers (Video Tutorial)
This 55-minute presentation addresses the voting conflicts statute as it applies to state officers. It addresses circumstances in which a voting conflict will be found, circumstances in which a voting conflict will not be found, and, finally, the method for handling a voting conflict when one is presented.
- Gifts for Local Government Officials (Video Tutorial)
This 45-minute presentation addresses the laws pertaining to gifts, "things of value," and honoraria, as they apply to local government officers and employees. It discusses what may be accepted, what is prohibited, and what must be reported.
- Post-Public-Service Restrictions (Video Tutorial)
This 35-minute presentation addresses post-public-employment and post-office-holding lobbying, contractual, and employment (revolving door) restrictions, for state level and/or local elected and appointed public officers and public employees, including but not limited to members of the Legislature.
- Ethics Laws (Audio Presentation)
This 50-minute presentation addresses conflicting business and employment relationships, blind trusts, prohibitions on public employees holding office and dual public employment, post-office-holding (revolving door) prohibitions, voting conflicts, and additional restrictions, for state level and/or local level public officers, public employees, and certain others, including but not limited to members of the Legislature. It was originally created for use by House of Representatives members but may be useful to others.
- Financial Disclosure Laws (Audio Presentation)
This 35-minute presentation provides a brief overview of the financial disclosure process, as well as detailed instructions on how to complete a Form 6 financial disclosure. It also addresses supplemental matters such as the process for appealing a financial disclosure fine as well as recent changes to the laws concerning financial disclosure. This presentation was originally presented to members of the Florida House of Representatives, but offers insight for any public officer required to file a disclosure form.
- Gift Laws (Audio Presentation)
This 25-minute presentation addresses the gift requirements applicable to members of the Legislature. It was originally created for members of the House of Representatives, but may offer insight for anyone interested in the topic of gift acceptance and reporting.
ADDITIONAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
**Constitutional officers and elected municipal officers should keep track of all ethics training they complete. The Commission does not track officers' completed hours. Officers may take training from any source they choose. There is no certification or accreditation process for training providers. Only training in which the staff of the Commission on Ethics participates will be posted here.
- Training that covers all required topics is available via this link: http://iog.fsu.edu/events/online_training/index.html
- Commission staff presented at The Florida Bar's CLE Course on Ethics, Sunshine Law, and Public Records March 11, 2016, in Tallahassee. Additional information is available at: https://www.floridabar.org/fbweb/clereg.nsf/0/3B097A551247E63B85257F1B0074256D?OpenDocument
- The Capitol Branch of the State Library of Florida just added new continuing legal education titles to its collection. To borrow materials, please contact the Library at 850.245.6612 or stop by Room 701, Capitol Building. You will need a State Library library card to check items out. Sunshine Law, Public Records and Ethics for Public Officers and Employees 2016 (CD)
Other training opportunities involving the staff of the Commission on Ethics will be added to this page as they arise. Check back often.