Elected Officials Forced To Resign As Florida Anti-Lobbying Law Takes Effect

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Multiple officeholders have resigned due to a new Florida law that restricts political lobbying by former and current public officials.

It prohibits public officials from lobbying after six years and bans elected officials. It is the longest ban on lobbying in the country, and it is probably the reason why Florida has seen high-profile resignations.

According to the Miami Herald, two state agency heads and Florida’s insurance commissioner resigned during the weeks leading to the law’s implementation.

According to WPLG 10, Crystal Wagar, Miami Shores Council Member, and Lubby Navarro, Miami-Dade County School Board member, both resigned due to the prolonged lobbying ban.

Jan. 1 was the effective date of the lobbying ban to put into place an amendment to Florida’s constitution that voters approved in 2018, according to Associated Press (AP). Public officials previously had to abide by a two-year lobbying ban.

According to Miami Herald, five elected officials from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties filed a federal suit against the lobbying ban, alleging that it violated their freedom of speech.

They argue that a broad lobbying ban would be against the public interest as it discourages public service, which is a part-time occupation for most Florida officials.

The lawsuit states that “it is precisely because of this very reason, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution expressly safeguards the right to petition government for a remedy of grievances along with the rights of freedom speech and freedom to assembly.”

According to the Herald, a judge denied the plaintiffs’ request to temporarily halt the law at an emergency hearing on Thursday. The Herald reported that their arguments would be heard in court January 27.