by Mitch Perry
1. Uniform ethics rules for legislators and local officials. If local officials are banned from legislative lobbying, then apply the same rules to legislators lobbying local officials.In the Appendix, the report features a Q& with former Pasco County state legislator Mike Fasano, who was known to be a fierce critic of the utility industry in Florida.
2. Put inspector general reports online. Inspector general investigative reports and audits should be posted online by the Florida Public Service Commission and all state agencies. If internal government watchdogs conduct an investigation of potential corruption, fraud, waste or abuse, the public should know about it and be able to read the report online. These reports and audits are already public records but they are typically not posted online for the public to know they exist.
3. Put gift and client disclosures made by state lawmakers and regulators online. Ensure full compliance with gift and client disclosures by lawmakers and state regulators. Florida legislators are already required to file disclosures when they receive gifts and they must file quarterly client disclosures if their professional firms have clients with business before state government. These forms are presently public records but they are only available upon request and sometimes for a fee. Gift disclosures and quarterly client disclosures should be posted online for the public to access at no charge.
4. Make campaign donations from vendors and state regulated industries more transparent. Require added disclosure if a donor is a state government vendor or a company regulated by the Public Service Commission. Implement a mandatory statewide filing system and enhanced campaign finance database with unique identification numbers for donors who are state government vendors or companies regulated by the Public Service Commission. State government vendor identification numbers could be used as the common reference related to each contribution. Large corporations often have parent companies, subsidiaries, multiple office addresses and several variations of their corporate names, factors which make tracking their campaign dollars challenging. The public would benefit from a full scale use of unique campaign contributor information from all donors.
5. Electric bill transparency. Unbundle bills with detailed disclosure of rate components. Floridians deserved to know what they are
paying for, especially in the cases where major infrastructure projects are pursued by electric utilities that may or may not go online. Customers should receive more detailed bills with all components of their electric rate and special infrastructure projects unbundled and clearly disclosed. In addition, the PSC website should provide easy public access to rate history information for every company they regulate.