Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott invited Senate President Don Gaetz and his wife Vicki to dinner at the Mansion Thursday night. That may sound innocuous, but it isn't.
Gaetz, an enthusiastic fan of the governor's, graciously accepted, but then he realized that Senate rules and the state Constitution prohibit him from discussing state business out of the sunshine. Gaetz has raised the bar for the conduct of public officials and says ethics reform is one of his highest priorities in his two-year term as Senate president.
It didn't take long for Gaetz to tell the governor he wouldn't be coming. The Senate interprets its own rules (Rule 1.45) to require a four-hour advance notice to the public and to the media before Gaetz meets with the governor, even if it's strictly a social occasion -- a higher standard than was expected of Gaetz's predecessors.
"Senator and Mrs. Gaetz will not be able to attend the reception or the dinner with the Governor and First Lady due to the notice requirement," said Gaetz's spokeswoman, Katherine Betta.
-- Steve Bousquet