Proposal seeks to expand officeholders Legislature can impeach


Florida’s elected state attorneys and public defenders could be subject to impeachment by the Legislature, under a measure overwhelmingly approved by a House committee Thursday.

The proposal, sponsored by freshman Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo of Tampa, would give voters the opportunity to expand the rarely used impeachment powers of the Legislature by amending the state Constitution. Legislators already have the power to impeach the governor, the lieutenant governor, members of the Florida Cabinet and judges.

RELATED: More Florida Legislature coverage

The proposal, approved Thursday by the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee, would add the 20 elected state attorneys and 20 public defenders, also elected, to the list of officials.

The proposal (HJR 999) comes after a Commission on Ethics investigation into Matt Shirk, a former Jacksonville-area public defender who lost his re-election bid last year. The commission found probable cause to believe that Shirk improperly hired three women for his office and also served or drank alcohol in a city building.

The commission, in part, found probable cause to believe that Shirk “misused his position to hire or direct the hiring of three women, contrary to procedures, policies, qualifications, or normal hiring practices, to engage in workplace or work-related interactions with them that were of personal interest to him and unrelated or marginally related to the function of his office, and to terminate them from their employment for the benefit of himself, his wife, and their marriage,” according a news release about decisions made by the commission in June.

But Toledo said her proposal was not aimed at anyone specifically. “Everyone can share stories about someone in their county doing things that they didn’t think were appropriate. So, definitely this will fix those, but this is not in response to any particular item,” she said.

“I think there should be more oversight and accountability, and I think this bill will fix that,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has filed a similar proposal (SB 904).



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Jeff Greene for governor?: If I ran, I’d ‘spend whatever it would take’
Jeff Greene for governor?: If I ran, I’d ‘spend whatever it would take’

Two Palm Beach County Democrats – former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene – are not ruling out making late entrances into a Florida governor’s race that so far hasn’t produced a clear favorite for either party’s nomination. Murphy, a two-term House member from Jupiter who lost a...
Adam Putnam coming to Forum Club next week
Adam Putnam coming to Forum Club next week

Adam Putnam at the Riviera Beach Marina last year. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a 2018 candidate for Florida governor, will appear next Monday at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch that organizers originally hoped would pair him with GOP rival Ron DeSantis...
Patrick Murphy, Jeff Greene not ruling out late Democratic bids for Florida governor
Patrick Murphy, Jeff Greene not ruling out late Democratic bids for Florida governor

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (left) gave his OK to a poll testing his name as a candidate for governor, with former Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Jolly (center) as running mate; Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene (right) isn’t ruling out a Democratic run for governor, either. Two Palm Beach County Democratic...
In travel ban case, Supreme Court considers ‘the president’ vs. ‘this president’
In travel ban case, Supreme Court considers ‘the president’ vs. ‘this president’

The Supreme Court's final oral argument of the term will be one of its most important and potentially far-reaching, an examination of the president's authority to protect the country by banning some foreigners who seek entry.  But, similar to a debate that has consumed Washington, D.C., for the past 15 months, a major issue for the court is separating...
Will President Trump ever go to London? The saga of the special relationship’s long-delayed visit
Will President Trump ever go to London? The saga of the special relationship’s long-delayed visit

Since he entered office last year, there has been persistent talk of President Donald Trump visiting Britain. The United Kingdom is one of the United States' strongest allies, and a trip to London is often on the schedule for any president. Like many of his predecessors, Trump has familial ties to Britain: His mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, was born...
More Stories