‘Corruption County’ bill strengthens penalties for ethics violationsby Dara Kam | March 9th, 2010
With Palm Beach “Corruption” County in mind, lawmakers are moving toward stiffening local ordinances combating ethics violations.
Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, is backing a bill that allow counties to increase the current penalties for violations of county ordinances imposing ethical standards and financial disclosure requirements from 60 days in jail to one year in jail and double the fine from $500 to $1,000 per occurance.
The Senate Community Affairs Committee signed off on Aronberg’s proposal (SB 1980) this afternoon with a 9-1 vote.
Aronberg sponsored the bill at the behest of the scandal-plagued Palm Beach County Commission, which recently established an ethics panel in the wake of a federal corruption probe that landed three former county commissioners in prison. Palm Beach County Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Boynton Beach, is the House bill (HB 1301) sponsor.
Aronberg said the measure, which would apply to all counties if it becomes law, puts teeth into local ordinances.
“Living in Palm Beach County, I’m well aware this has become a priority for the voters in my district,” Aronberg, who is running in a statewide Democratic primary for attorney general against Senate colleague Dan Gelber. “Hopefully, this will help remove our reputation as ‘Corruption County.’”