Florida Politics

Another county follows Corcoran’s lead, seeks to ban texts during BCC meetings

December 9, 2016

Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners voted to have the county attorney draft an ordinance banning text messages during commission meetings.

Last month, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran established new rules for lobbyists. He banned lobbyists from texting members while they are in committees or on House floor. lobbyists who violate the ban would lose their privileges to lobby the rest of the session.

Read Hillsborough Commission to copy Richard Corcoran’s proposal to ban texting by lobbyists?

In November, the Pasco County Commission voted to not renew its contract with its lobbyists when the current agreement expires. Speaker Corcoran has almost denounced the practices of cities and counties hiring lobbyists to push agendas with lawmakers.

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  • CJ Lewis December 9, 2016 at 10:50 am

    I guess it was back in 2008 when Councilman Sam Hall told me that Jim Reeves “ran the city” to include telling him what to do and how to vote during Council meetings. I took it with a grain of salt until I ran into Reeves a few weeks later at IHMC and he told me the same. I began to pay extra attention during meetings when I could see Reeves send text message on his iPhone and watch Hall look down and read it. They would go back and forth all meeting. Even now, you can see that in addition the public meeting taking place, there is a whole other meeting taking place with elected and appointed officials and staff and citizens sending text messages and e-mails around and about and Council members even discussing aloud their research into issues. When I worked in the Intelligence field, we had to park our devices with the SSO when we entered the SCIF. People actually talked to each other during meeting and stuff got done without constant disruption. As I often say and the Pensacola City Council ignores, the City Council has vast powers. What it could do is adopt an ordinance, resolution or rule providing that any public official (elected or appointed official or city employee or contract employee) engaged in a public meeting could not send or receive electronic communications during the meeting. We all know that Council members send and receive text messages during meetings as does Hayward. I recall once watching Hayward and Olson send text messages back and forth during a meeting with Johnson leaning over to read the ones on Hayward’s device and Bowling reading over Olson’s shoulder.