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Bill Summary Details

Government Integrity (Watch)

SB 1538 (Gruters) and CS/HB 1111 (Tomkow) establish various provisions to promote integrity in government and to prevent fraud, waste and abuse relating to the expenditure of public funds. The bills create the Florida Integrity Office and the position of Florida integrity officer within the Office of the Auditor General. The bills authorize the integrity officer to investigate complaints alleging waste, fraud, abuse, misconduct or gross mismanagement (as defined in the bills) in connection with the expenditure of public funds within and by state and local government. The bills authorize the integrity officer to refer a matter to the auditor general, the appropriate law enforcement agency, the Commission on Ethics, the chief financial officer, the Office of the Chief Inspector General or the appropriate agency inspector general. The bills direct the auditor general and the integrity officer to conduct random audits and inspections of appropriations projects appropriated in the prior year. The bills authorize the auditor general and the Florida integrity officer to investigate or audit the activities of any political subdivision, unit of local authority or local council or commission. The bills amend the definition for “abuse” and define “misconduct” relating to audits by the auditor general. The bills define “fraud,” “waste,” “abuse” and “misconduct” relating to duties of the chief inspector general and provide procedures for the Inspector General to report on activities by public officials or agencies to the Florida integrity officer. The bills impose personal liability for repayment of funds upon persons or officials responsible for determinations of fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement or misconduct in government. The bills authorize the chief financial officer to commence investigations based on complaints or referral from any source. The bills require reporting from agency inspectors general on savings or recovery of public funds resulting from reports under the state Whistleblower Act. The bills remove “gross mismanagement” from the definitions of mismanagement in the state Whistleblower Act and specify conditions for whistleblower awards. The bills require certain proposals that exceed $50,000 that are exempted from competitive procurement requirements to include a good faith estimate of gross profit for each year of the proposed contract and require the procuring agency to make a written determination that the estimated gross profit is not excessive prior to awarding the contract. The bills prohibit the use of state or local incentive funds to be paid to a state contractor or subcontractor for services provided or expenditures incurred pursuant to a state contract. (O’Hara)