Leaders in the Florida House and Senate had touted that this year would be the one in which proposed reforms finally become law.
Financial disclosure forms will be posted online in a searchable database for the public to access. The Florida Commission on Ethics will begin moving towards an electronic filing system for financial disclosure to make the process smoother for filers and to provide better quality information for the public to access in an easier to read format. Fine enforcement will be enhanced by allowing the ethics commission to garnish wages of officials owing fines to the commission and it extends the collection period from four to twenty years.
Strengthens revolving door rules to limit legislators from lobbying for two years after they leave office. Creates new restrictions to prohibit officials from obtaining crony jobs based on their public office. Integrity Florida’s director, Dan Krassner, had been calling for such reforms well before the beginning of the legislative session and worked with lawmakers to put these new laws and rules in place.
Until now, Florida has had no safeguards in place to prevent a state legislator from writing legislation that could benefit them personally. The Associated Press reports that the new ethics rules also “give the Florida Commission on Ethics more power to collect fines from officials. The commission will also be able to take complaints from the governor, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and state and U.S. While both bills were championed by groups like Integrity Florida, some advocacy groups took issue with one of the provisions in the campaign finance bill Scott signed this week. Their main concern was a provision that raised the contribution limit to candidates. Campaign contribution limits, now at $500 per contributor per election for all offices, will be raised to $1,000 for legislative and local races and $3,000 for statewide races. Lastly, the bill eliminates a type of political action committee that Integrity Florida had been warning about.
In a report outlining problems with campaign finance in Florida, Integrity Florida took particular issue with Committees of Continuous Existence, or CCEs, which collect campaign money while being uninhibited by contribution limits. Because there had been a tight limit until now on how much businesses or political groups may give to state lawmakers, a lot of political money has been funneled through these CCEs.
The campaign finance bill, however, does not put stricter regulations on the two dominant political parties. In 2014, the smoking ban at beaches and parks will be extended to all other City and County of Honolulu parks which includes beaches, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, botanical gardens, athletic fields, beach right-of-ways, park roadways and all recreation areas.  The 2014 ban will also apply to the whole of Ala Moana Beach Park (at present it’s the sand area only that is smoke-free).
Bill 72 which was signed by the Mayor in April 2013 made Ala Moana Beach smoke-free immediately and the other beaches and park on the bill (Kapiolani Park, Kapiolani Beach, Kuhio Beach, Duke Kahanmoku Beach and Sandy Beach) became smoke-free when Bill 25 was signed into law (parts 1 & 3 of Bill 25 affected Bill 72 enabling it to be enacted and were effective immediately upon the Mayor signing the bill in July). Bill 25 part 2 goes into effect on January 1, 2014, and this extends the smoking ban to all the other City & County beaches and parks on Oahu. This tax increase and that statement in the proposed legislation sends a message that smokeless tobacco products are just as harmful to public health and costly to the state as cigarette smoking, which numerous scientific studies says are not true. The Other Tobacco Product category in Hawaii is primarily made up of smokeless tobacco products, such as moist snuff which are pictured above. In conclusion, based on the concept of tobacco harm reduction it does not make sense to increase the tax on tobacco products.


Swenson graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Swenson, 34, is credited with risking his life to help save his fellow troops and recover bodies, feats that President Obama recounted when he presented Swenson with the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration. For reasons which remain unclear, the paperwork was lost, causing a significant delay in the nomination process.
After returning from the battlefield, Swenson engaged in a lengthy and bitter dispute with the military over the narrative of one of the Afghan war’s most notorious firefights.The questions he raised resulted in reprimands for two other officers and what he and others say was an effort by the Army to discredit him.
From a personal perspective having served in the U.S Army and the Public Service I can relate to what happened to Swenson.
Four years after he survived a brutal firefight in a remote Afghanistan valley that claimed the lives of five Americans, retired U.S.
Swenson — the first Army officer since the Vietnam War to be awarded the medal — has been unemployed since leaving the service in 2011. But for Swenson, the award stands for more than his personal bravery during the seven-hour battle in the Ganjgal valley, near the Pakistan border, on Sept. 8, 2009. The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external. Rick Scott signed bills into law that will reform some of the state’s campaign finance laws and enact new ethics rules for public officials in the state. In fact, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, promised before the session started that such legislation would be a priority for him. Lawmakers once tried to reform ethics laws by making it harder for legislators to write laws that would benefit them personally.
Attorneys, State Attorneys, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Governor’s Office.
There had also been no rules about legislators lobbying state agencies immediately after leaving public office.
It has written off $1 million in fines over the past decade, calling them essentially uncollectable. Currently, the state’s database is very cumbersome to use and makes it difficult to track money raised and spent by candidates.
There was also only a very grainy picture of where this money was coming from and where it was going. Under Florida law, both the Florida Democratic Party and Florida Republican Party can accept unlimited sums from large donors and corporations, but the parties don’t necessarily have to set aside that money for either the House or Senate. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards. He received his commission after completing Officer Candidate School as a 2nd Lieutenant infantry officer in the  United States Army in September 2002. Some believe that Swenson was being punished for loudly criticizing his senior officers (for not sending fire support) in an after-action investigation into the battle. His case was reopened in 2011 at the urging of Marine Corps General John R. Meyer has found celebrity and success, with a book and a personal assistant, boosted by a story that Swenson considers an inflated and misleading account of that harrowing day.


Swenson distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as embedded advisor to the Afghan National Border Police, Task Force Phoenix, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan in support of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.
Swenson is a former captain in the United States Army, receiving  the Medal of Honor on 15 October 2013.
On that morning, more than 60 well-armed, well-positioned enemy fighters ambushed Captain Swenson’s combat team as it moved on foot into the village of Ganjgal for a meeting with village elders. While not the full self-initiation of investigations that the ethics commission should have, this process is a good step to fight corruption and reduce frivolous complaints since these agencies would provide an additional vetting process for higher quality complaints to reach the ethics commission. President Don Gaetz and the campaign finance bill (HB 569) was important to House Speaker Will Weatherford. He is the first United States Army officer to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, as well as the sixth living recipient in the War on Terror. He has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, who had been making separate rescue missions, to recover the bodies of three Marines, a Navy corpsman and their Afghan interpreter, who were found in a deep trench. As the enemy unleashed a barrage of rocket-propelled grenade, mortar and machine gun fire, Captain Swenson immediately returned fire and coordinated and directed the response of his Afghan Border Police, while simultaneously calling in suppressive artillery fire and aviation support. The House and Senate sent him the bills knowing they would have to be signed by or vetoed before midnight Wednesday, two days before the legislative session ends. After the enemy effectively flanked Coalition Forces, Captain Swenson repeatedly called for smoke to cover the withdrawal of the forward elements. Surrounded on three sides by enemy forces inflicting effective and accurate fire, Captain Swenson coordinated air assets, indirect fire support and medical evacuation helicopter support to allow for the evacuation of the wounded. Captain Swenson ignored enemy radio transmissions demanding surrender and maneuvered uncovered to render medical aid to a wounded fellow soldier. Captain Swenson stopped administering aid long enough to throw a grenade at approaching enemy forces, before assisting with moving the soldier for air evacuation. With complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Swenson unhesitatingly led a team in an unarmored vehicle into the kill zone, exposing himself to enemy fire on at least two occasions, to recover the wounded and search for four missing comrades. After using aviation support to mark locations of fallen and wounded comrades, it became clear that ground recovery of the fallen was required due to heavy enemy fire on helicopter landing zones.
Captain Swenson voluntarily exited the vehicle, exposing himself to enemy fire, to locate and recover three fallen Marines and one fallen Navy corpsman. His exceptional leadership and stout resistance against the enemy during six hours of continuous fighting rallied his teammates and effectively disrupted the enemy’s assault. Swenson’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Task Force Phoenix, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division and the United States Army.



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