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Guess who didn't go to dinner with Scott? Gaetz

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



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Great job, Senator Gaetz! He has been a roll lately. First, shutting down the "nullifiers" and now this. Way to be responsible!


Thank you, Senator Gaetz, for this excellent start to your tenure as President of the Senate. I have closely followed your staff appointments beginning with the appointment of Lisa Echeverri. I do not know most of them, but worked with Ms. Echeverri for many years at the Department of Revenue. The ethical standards she set at the department were beyond reproach, especially in the area of open government. With Lisa as a sounding board for you and your staff, open government and ethics should never be a problem during your tenure, leaving you plenty of time to lead the Senate in more pressing matters that are critical to the future of this state; e.g., growth management, the environment, the education of our children, balanced tax policy, and public safety (including our stupid gun laws). Good luck to you, sir.


Of course, y'all do realize that nothing in law stops them from having a phone conversation later, completely out of the public eye (or earshot) ... as long as they are not on their cell phones at the same "event" or "meeting" at the same time.

This IS a nice show of support for rule-abiding and avoiding the appearance of unethical or illegal action ... but it is only a show.

The most interesting question is whether this whole thing was scripted to burnish someone's ethical image.

Personally, I think it's a stupid requirement to prevent politicians from discussing public business with each other privately, as long as they have to actually do the public's business in public.

But we as a society do so often prefer the show over the substance.

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