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Sen Latvala Avoids Relationship Question, Suggests Broader Ethics Reform


The Florida Senate is mired in controversy after a top democratic member admitted to an affair with a lobbyist and resigned. Budget chief and gubernatorial hopeful Jack Latvala is interested in ethics reform, but says legislating morality is a dead end.

The Clearwater Republican bristled at questions about whether romantic relationships between lawmakers and aides or lobbyists are inappropriate. Latvala contends there are more important issues. But he admited it could be time for reform. “Well I think an entire package of ethics reforms is probably due, said Latvala. "Some of which has been proposed and maybe some that haven’t been proposed, and I think that would fit in with a package perhaps that said you can’t have an immediate family member who is a lobbyist.” That’s a veiled allusion to House Speaker and potential gubernatorial candidate Richard Corcoran whose brother is a lobbyist. Latvala suggests House leaders are stoking controversy ahead of the legislative session to weaken the Senate.