Florida Senate - 2019                               CS for SB 58
       By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Book
       590-01174-19                                            201958c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to contempt and disorderly conduct
    3         before a legislative committee; amending s. 11.143,
    4         F.S.; conforming a provision to changes made by the
    5         act; creating s. 11.1435, F.S.; prohibiting a person,
    6         including a member of the Legislature, from engaging
    7         in disorderly or contemptuous conduct; specifying
    8         applicable penalties, including fines and
    9         imprisonment; providing a procedure for investigating
   10         and punishing disorderly or contemptuous conduct while
   11         the Legislature is in session; providing that the
   12         procedures apply in the absence of certain legislative
   13         rules; providing an effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. Section 11.143, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   18  read:
   19         11.143 Standing or select committees; powers.—
   20         (1) Each standing or select committee, or subcommittee
   21  thereof, is authorized to invite public officials and employees
   22  and private individuals to appear before the committee for the
   23  purpose of submitting information to it. Each such committee is
   24  authorized to maintain a continuous review of the work of the
   25  state agencies concerned with its subject area and the
   26  performance of the functions of government within each such
   27  subject area and for this purpose to request reports from time
   28  to time, in such form as the committee designates, concerning
   29  the operation of any state agency and presenting any proposal or
   30  recommendation such agency may have with regard to existing laws
   31  or proposed legislation in its subject area.
   32         (2) In order to carry out its duties, each such committee
   33  is empowered with the right and authority to inspect and
   34  investigate the books, records, papers, documents, data,
   35  operation, and physical plant of any public agency in this
   36  state, including any confidential information.
   37         (3)(a) In order to carry out its duties, each such
   38  committee, whenever required, may issue subpoena and other
   39  necessary process to compel the attendance of witnesses before
   40  such committee, and the chair thereof shall issue the process on
   41  behalf of the committee, in accordance with the rules of the
   42  respective house. The chair or any other member of such
   43  committee may administer all oaths and affirmations in the
   44  manner prescribed by law to witnesses who appear before the
   45  committee for the purpose of testifying in any matter concerning
   46  which the committee desires evidence.
   47         (b) Each such committee, whenever required, may also compel
   48  by subpoena duces tecum the production of any books, letters, or
   49  other documentary evidence, including any confidential
   50  information, it desires to examine in reference to any matter
   51  before it.
   52         (c) Either house during the session may punish by fine or
   53  imprisonment any person not a member who has been guilty of
   54  disorderly or contemptuous conduct in its presence or of a
   55  refusal to obey its lawful summons, but such imprisonment must
   56  not extend beyond the final adjournment of the session.
   57         (d) The sheriffs in the several counties or a duly
   58  constituted agent of a Florida legislative committee 18 years of
   59  age or older shall make such service and execute all process or
   60  orders when required by such committees. Sheriffs shall be paid
   61  as provided for in s. 30.231.
   62         (4)(a) Whoever willfully affirms or swears falsely in
   63  regard to any material matter or thing before any such committee
   64  is guilty of false swearing, which constitutes a felony of the
   65  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083,
   66  or s. 775.084.
   67         (b) If a witness fails to respond to the lawful subpoena of
   68  any such committee at a time when the Legislature is not in
   69  session or, having responded, fails to answer all lawful
   70  inquiries or to turn over evidence that has been subpoenaed,
   71  such committee may file a complaint before any circuit court of
   72  the state setting up such failure on the part of the witness. On
   73  the filing of such complaint, the court shall take jurisdiction
   74  of the witness and the subject matter of the complaint and shall
   75  direct the witness to respond to all lawful questions and to
   76  produce all documentary evidence in the possession of the
   77  witness which is lawfully demanded. The failure of a witness to
   78  comply with such order of the court constitutes a direct and
   79  criminal contempt of court, and the court shall punish the
   80  witness accordingly.
   81         (5) All witnesses summoned before any such committee shall
   82  receive reimbursement for travel expenses and per diem at the
   83  rates provided in s. 112.061. However, the fact that such
   84  reimbursement is not tendered at the time the subpoena is served
   85  does not excuse the witness from appearing as directed therein.
   86         Section 2. Section 11.1435, Florida Statutes, is created to
   87  read:
   88         11.1435 Disorderly or contemptuous conduct before
   89  legislative committees.—
   90         (1)A person, including a member of the Legislature, may
   91  not engage in disorderly or contemptuous conduct before a
   92  standing committee or select committee or subcommittee of the
   93  Legislature. Contemptuous conduct includes knowingly making a
   94  materially false statement, whether or not under oath or
   95  affirmation, before a legislative committee.
   96         (a) A person, including a member of the Legislature, who
   97  engages in disorderly or contemptuous conduct while the
   98  Legislature is in session may be punished by the house in which
   99  the misconduct occurred. The punishment may not exceed a fine of
  100  $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for up to 90 days, or
  101  by both, upon the order of the presiding officer of the house in
  102  which the misconduct occurred.
  103         (b)A person, including a member of the Legislature, who
  104  engages in disorderly or contemptuous conduct during an interim
  105  meeting of a legislative committee commits a misdemeanor of the
  106  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
  107  775.083.
  108         (2)If a violation of this section occurs while the
  109  Legislature is in session, a member of the committee before
  110  which a violation occurs may file a complaint with the rules
  111  chair of the appropriate house of the Legislature. The complaint
  112  must identify the disorderly or contemptuous conduct, state the
  113  facts showing that the conduct was made in violation of this
  114  section, and include relevant supporting documentation or
  115  evidence.
  116         (3)If the rules chair determines that the complaint fails
  117  to support a finding of a violation of this section, the
  118  complaint must be dismissed. If the rules chair determines that
  119  the complaint states facts that, if true, would be a violation
  120  of this section, the complaint must be referred to a special
  121  master or a standing or select committee to expeditiously
  122  determine whether probable cause of a violation exists.
  123         (4)The special master or a standing or select committee
  124  shall give reasonable notice to the person who is alleged to
  125  have engaged in disorderly or contemptuous conduct, shall
  126  conduct an investigation, and shall give the person an
  127  opportunity to be heard. Following such actions, the special
  128  master or standing or select committee shall prepare a report
  129  and recommendation regarding the alleged violation.
  130         (5)If the report and recommendation of the special master
  131  or standing or select committee conclude that the facts do not
  132  support a finding of probable cause, the rules chair must
  133  dismiss the complaint. If the report and recommendation find
  134  probable cause that the person violated this section, the report
  135  and recommendation must be taken up and acted upon by the
  136  appropriate house where the disorderly or contemptuous conduct
  137  occurred.
  138         (6)If the appropriate house determines that a person
  139  engaged in disorderly or contemptuous conduct and determines a
  140  punishment for the conduct, the presiding officer must issue an
  141  order imposing the punishment. An order imposing imprisonment
  142  must direct the Leon County Sheriff or the sheriff of the
  143  person’s county of residence to take the person into custody for
  144  confinement in the county jail for the time period specified in
  145  the order. Any fines must be deposited into the Lobbyist
  146  Registration Trust Fund.
  147         (7) This section applies in the absence of legislative
  148  rules establishing a procedure to address the misconduct
  149  prohibited by this section.
  150         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.