CEO 83-21 -- April 21, 1983
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF COMMISSION ON BAIL BOND REFORM
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the Commission on Bail Bond Reform, created by Chapter 82-175, Section 69, Laws of Florida, are not "state officers" and therefore are not subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The Commission's powers are solely advisory, and it has no budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures. However, the members of the Commission are "public officers" for purposes of the Code of Ethics and therefore are required to file a disclosure of specified business interests, CE Form 3, as provided in Section 112.313(9), Florida Statutes.
Are the members of the Commission on Bail Bond Reform "state officers" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually?
This question is answered in the negative.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides that each "state officer" shall file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes. The term "state officer" is defined to include:
An appointed member of each board, commission, authority, or council having statewide jurisdiction, excluding a member of an advisory body. [Section 112.3145(1)(c)2, Florida Statutes (1981).]
In addition, the term "advisory body" is defined as
any board, commission, committee, council, or authority, however selected, whose total budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures constitute less than 1 percent of the budget of each agency it serves or $100,000, whichever is less, and whose powers, jurisdiction, and authority are solely advisory and do not include the final determination or adjudication of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations, other than those relating to its internal operations. [Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes (1981).]
As created by Chapter 82-175, Section 69, Laws of Florida, the Commission on Bail Bond Reform consists of fourteen members, ten of whom are appointed by the Governor, with the remaining four consisting of a state representative, a state senator, the Attorney General, and the Insurance Commissioner, or their representatives. The Commission is to study and take testimony on the effects of the reforms contained in Chapter 82-175 on the criminal bail system and on all alternatives to the current criminal bail system, such as "appearance bond" or "public bond" systems. The Commission is to begin its study on February 1, 1983, and to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature on February 1, 1984.
In our view, the Commission is an "advisory body" within the meaning of the above definition. It is apparent that the powers, jurisdiction, and authority of the Commission are solely advisory. In a telephone conversation with our staff, an attorney in the General Counsel's Office of the Governor advised that the Commission is not a budget entity separate from the office of the Governor and that funding for the Commission's activities is derived from the budget of that Office. In addition, she advised that the Commission will not have the independent authority to spend public funds, as all staffing and budgetary decisions involving the Commission are subject to the approval of the Governor. Chapter 82-175, Section 69(6), Laws of Florida. Having no budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures, the Commission therefore is an "advisory body."
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Commission on Bail Bond Reform are not "state officers" and therefore are not required to file a statement of financial interests (Commission on Ethics Form 1) annually.
Are the members of the Commission on Bail Bond Reform "public officers" required to file a Disclosure of Specified Business Interests (Commission on Ethics Form 3) as applicable?
This question is answered in the affirmative.
Section 112.313(9), Florida Statutes, requires public officers and employees to disclose certain types of business interests described in Section 112.312(14), Florida Statutes. We have promulgated Commission on Ethics Form 3, Disclosure of Specified Business Interests, for this purpose.
As used in Section 112.313, the term "public officer" includes persons appointed to serve on an advisory body. Section 112.313(1), Florida Statutes. Accordingly, members of the Commission on Bail Bond Reform are subject to the requirement of filing Commission on Ethics Form 3, Disclosure of Specified Business Interests. Please note, however, that the form is not required to be filed if the public officer or employee does not have an interest in one of the specified types of businesses listed on the form.