Law Related to Lobbying Members of the Florida Legislature
Jane Adams, Vice President for University Relations
The Florida Legislature has passed legislation, signed into law by the Governor, which prohibits lobbyists, lobbying firms, and their principals from making any expenditures, including food and beverages, on behalf of legislators or legislative staff. “Expenditure” means a payment, distribution, loan, advance, reimbursement, deposit, or anything of value made by a lobbyist or principal for the purpose of lobbying. All of these provisions apply equally to lobbying expenditures to “reporting individuals” in the executive branch as well. Reporting individuals are public officials and employees required by law to report financial interests on an annual basis to the Commission on Ethics.
Both the University of Florida and the UF Foundation are considered lobbying entities, so the new law prohibiting gifts — including food — to legislators and staff applies to us.
Although this law applies only to the officials listed, other laws restrict the gifts that can be given to federal, local, and other state officials. Please consult with the University of Florida General Counsel Office for guidance in this area.
In order to be in compliance with the new law, the following language is recommended to be included on any invitation or email invitation that is being sent to legislators, legislative staff, and state officials;
“If you are a legislator, a legislative staff member, or an executive branch “reporting individual” and are prohibited from accepting this complimentary invitation from the University of Florida, please contact us for additional information.”