Florida Senate - 2016                                    SB 1636
       By Senator Gibson
       24-01614-16                                           20161636__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to duties of the Legislative Auditing
    3         Committee; amending s. 11.40, F.S.; repealing
    4         provisions requiring compensation report audits of
    5         legislative branch and executive branch lobbying firms
    6         by independent contract auditors, specifying
    7         procedures for selecting independent contract
    8         auditors, and requiring audit reports to be provided
    9         to specified legislative and executive entities;
   10         amending s. 11.45, F.S.; repealing a requirement that
   11         the Auditor General conduct specified audits of local
   12         government entities under certain circumstances;
   13         amending s. 215.985, F.S.; repealing provisions
   14         requiring the committee’s input related to the website
   15         of the Executive Office of the Governor; amending s.
   16         218.39, F.S.; repealing provisions regarding the
   17         committee’s duties related to certain annual financial
   18         audit reports; amending s. 1002.395, F.S.; correcting
   19         a cross-reference; providing an effective date.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Subsection (3) of section 11.40, Florida
   24  Statutes, is amended to read:
   25         11.40 Legislative Auditing Committee.—
   26         (3)(a)As used in this subsection, “independent contract
   27  auditor” means a state-licensed certified public accountant or
   28  firm with which a state-licensed certified public accountant is
   29  currently employed or associated who is actively engaged in the
   30  accounting profession.
   31         (b)Audits specified in this subsection cover the quarterly
   32  compensation reports for the previous calendar year for a random
   33  sample of 3 percent of all legislative branch lobbying firms and
   34  a random sample of 3 percent of all executive branch lobbying
   35  firms calculated using as the total number of such lobbying
   36  firms those filing a compensation report for the preceding
   37  calendar year. The committee shall provide for a system of
   38  random selection of the lobbying firms to be audited.
   39         (c)The committee shall create and maintain a list of not
   40  less than 10 independent contract auditors approved to conduct
   41  the required audits. Each lobbying firm selected for audit in
   42  the random audit process may designate one of the independent
   43  contract auditors from the committee’s approved list. Upon
   44  failure for any reason of a lobbying firm selected in the random
   45  selection process to designate an independent contract auditor
   46  from the committee’s list within 30 calendar days after being
   47  notified by the committee of its selection, the committee shall
   48  assign one of the available independent contract auditors from
   49  the approved list to perform the required audit. No independent
   50  contract auditor, whether designated by the lobbying firm or by
   51  the committee, may perform the audit of a lobbying firm where
   52  the auditor and lobbying firm have ever had a direct personal
   53  relationship or any professional accounting, auditing, tax
   54  advisory, or tax preparing relationship with each other. The
   55  committee shall obtain a written, sworn certification subject to
   56  s. 837.06, both from the randomly selected lobbying firm and
   57  from the proposed independent contract auditor, that no such
   58  relationship has ever existed.
   59         (d)Each independent contract auditor shall be engaged by
   60  and compensated solely by the state for the work performed in
   61  accomplishing an audit under this subsection.
   62         (e)Any violations of law, deficiencies, or material
   63  misstatements discovered and noted in an audit report shall be
   64  clearly identified in the audit report and be determined under
   65  the rules of either house of the Legislature or under the joint
   66  rules, as applicable.
   67         (f)If any lobbying firm fails to give full, frank, and
   68  prompt cooperation and access to books, records, and associated
   69  backup documents as requested in writing by the auditor, that
   70  failure shall be clearly noted by the independent contract
   71  auditor in the report of audit.
   72         (g)The committee shall establish procedures for the
   73  selection of independent contract auditors desiring to enter
   74  into audit contracts pursuant to this subsection. Such
   75  procedures shall include, but not be limited to, a rating system
   76  that takes into account pertinent information, including the
   77  independent contract auditor’s fee proposals for participating
   78  in the process. All contracts under this subsection between an
   79  independent contract auditor and the Speaker of the House of
   80  Representatives and the President of the Senate shall be
   81  terminable by either party at any time upon written notice to
   82  the other, and such contracts may contain such other terms and
   83  conditions as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and
   84  the President of the Senate deem appropriate under the
   85  circumstances.
   86         (h)The committee shall adopt guidelines that govern random
   87  audits and field investigations conducted pursuant to this
   88  subsection. The guidelines shall ensure that similarly situated
   89  compensation reports are audited in a uniform manner. The
   90  guidelines shall also be formulated to encourage compliance and
   91  detect violations of the legislative and executive lobbying
   92  compensation reporting requirements in ss. 11.045 and 112.3215
   93  and to ensure that each audit is conducted with maximum
   94  efficiency in a cost-effective manner. In adopting the
   95  guidelines, the committee shall consider relevant guidelines and
   96  standards of the American Institute of Certified Public
   97  Accountants to the extent that such guidelines and standards are
   98  applicable and consistent with the purposes set forth in this
   99  subsection.
  100         (i)All audit reports of legislative lobbying firms shall,
  101  upon completion by an independent contract auditor, be delivered
  102  to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
  103  Representatives for their respective review and handling. All
  104  audit reports of executive branch lobbyists, upon completion by
  105  an independent contract auditor, shall be delivered by the
  106  auditor to the Commission on Ethics.
  107         Section 2. Paragraph (j) of subsection (2) of section
  108  11.45, Florida Statutes, is amended, and present paragraph (k)
  109  of that subsection is redesignated as paragraph (j), to read:
  110         11.45 Definitions; duties; authorities; reports; rules.—
  111         (2) DUTIES.—The Auditor General shall:
  112         (j)Conduct audits of local governmental entities when
  113  determined to be necessary by the Auditor General, when directed
  114  by the Legislative Auditing Committee, or when otherwise
  115  required by law. No later than 18 months after the release of
  116  the audit report, the Auditor General shall perform such
  117  appropriate followup procedures as he or she deems necessary to
  118  determine the audited entity’s progress in addressing the
  119  findings and recommendations contained within the Auditor
  120  General’s previous report. The Auditor General shall notify each
  121  member of the audited entity’s governing body and the
  122  Legislative Auditing Committee of the results of his or her
  123  determination.
  125  The Auditor General shall perform his or her duties
  126  independently but under the general policies established by the
  127  Legislative Auditing Committee. This subsection does not limit
  128  the Auditor General’s discretionary authority to conduct other
  129  audits or engagements of governmental entities as authorized in
  130  subsection (3).
  131         Section 3. Subsection (2) and present subsections (7), (8),
  132  (9), and (13) of section 215.985, Florida Statutes, are amended,
  133  and present subsections (10), (11), (12), and (14) of that
  134  section are renumbered as subsections (7) through (10),
  135  respectively, to read:
  136         215.985 Transparency in government spending.—
  137         (2) As used in this section, the term:
  138         (a)“Committee” means the Legislative Auditing Committee
  139  created in s. 11.40.
  140         (a)(b) “Contract” means a written agreement or purchase
  141  order issued for the purchase of goods or services or a written
  142  agreement for the receipt of state or federal financial
  143  assistance.
  144         (b)(c) “Governmental entity” means a state, regional,
  145  county, municipal, special district, or other political
  146  subdivision whether executive, judicial, or legislative,
  147  including, but not limited to, a department, division, bureau,
  148  commission, authority, district, or agency thereof, or public
  149  school, Florida College System institution, state university, or
  150  associated board.
  151         (c)(d) “Website” means a site on the Internet which is
  152  easily accessible to the public at no cost and does not require
  153  the user to provide information.
  154         (7)By November 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, the
  155  committee shall recommend to the President of the Senate and the
  156  Speaker of the House of Representatives:
  157         (a)Additional information to be added to a website, such
  158  as whether to expand the scope of the information provided to
  159  include state universities, Florida College System institutions,
  160  school districts, charter schools, charter technical career
  161  centers, local government units, and other governmental
  162  entities.
  163         (b)A schedule for adding information to the website by
  164  type of information and governmental entity, including
  165  timeframes and development entity.
  166         (c)A format for collecting and displaying the additional
  167  information.
  168         (8)The manager of each website described in subsections
  169  (4), (5), and (6) shall submit to the committee information
  170  relating to the cost of creating and maintaining such website,
  171  and the number of times the website has been accessed.
  172         (9)The committee shall coordinate with the Financial
  173  Management Information Board in developing recommendations for
  174  including information on the website which is necessary to meet
  175  the requirements of s. 215.91(8).
  176         (13)The committee shall prepare an annual report detailing
  177  progress in establishing the single website and providing
  178  recommendations for enhancement of the content and format of the
  179  website and related policies and procedures. The report shall be
  180  submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
  181  Speaker of the House of Representatives by November 1.
  182         Section 4. Present subsection (8) of section 218.39,
  183  Florida Statutes, is amended, and present subsections (9)
  184  through (12) of that section are renumbered as subsections (8)
  185  through (11), respectively, to read:
  186         218.39 Annual financial audit reports.—
  187         (8)The Auditor General shall notify the Legislative
  188  Auditing Committee of any audit report prepared pursuant to this
  189  section which indicates that an audited entity has failed to
  190  take full corrective action in response to a recommendation that
  191  was included in the two preceding financial audit reports.
  192         (a)The committee may direct the governing body of the
  193  audited entity to provide a written statement to the committee
  194  explaining why full corrective action has not been taken or, if
  195  the governing body intends to take full corrective action,
  196  describing the corrective action to be taken and when it will
  197  occur.
  198         (b)If the committee determines that the written statement
  199  is not sufficient, it may require the chair of the governing
  200  body of the local governmental entity or the chair’s designee,
  201  the elected official of each county agency or the elected
  202  official’s designee, the chair of the district school board or
  203  the chair’s designee, the chair of the board of the charter
  204  school or the chair’s designee, or the chair of the board of the
  205  charter technical career center or the chair’s designee, as
  206  appropriate, to appear before the committee.
  207         (c)If the committee determines that an audited entity has
  208  failed to take full corrective action for which there is no
  209  justifiable reason for not taking such action, or has failed to
  210  comply with committee requests made pursuant to this section,
  211  the committee may proceed in accordance with s. 11.40(2).
  212         Section 5. Paragraph (d) of subsection (9) of section
  213  1002.395, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  214         1002.395 Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.—
  215         (9) DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OBLIGATIONS.—The Department of
  216  Education shall:
  217         (d) Annually verify the eligibility of expenditures as
  218  provided in paragraph (6)(d) using the audit required by
  219  paragraph (6)(m) and s. 11.45(2)(j) 11.45(2)(k).
  220         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.