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Gaetz announces new ethics guidelines, will form 'Obamacare' committee

Senate President Don Gaetz announced today new Senate rules that require senators to abstain from voting on issues where he or she has stated a conflict. In previous years, senators only had to disclose their conflicts within 15 days of a vote.

The Florida House already has a conflict-of-interest voting ban. The Senate has tried unsuccessfully in recent years to pass ethics reform legislation.

Gaetz is also proposing that starting next year, all senators be required to complete an ethics training course that goes over such things as the meeting in the sunshine and public records.

Gaetz will ask the Senate to adopt his proposed rules during Tuesday's organizational session.

He also said today that he will form a Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to study the implementation of the health care law.

Here are some other changes to the committee structure Gaetz is proposing:

  • Merging the appropriations subcommittees on higher education and K-12 education into one education subcommittee. 
  • A new Gaming Committee
  • A new Ethics and Elections Committee. Previously, there was an Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections.
  • Renaming the Health Regulation committee Health Policy.

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