Gift Ban

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Lobbyists can no longer pay for food, booze or any other gifts for Florida lawmakers and other state and local officials.

Governor Jeb Bush signed into law today the prohibition on lobbyist gift-giving.

Bush called the ban a "big deal" and says it makes Florida a leader among the states in ensuring the integrity of government.

The legislation was Senate President Tom Lee's leading priority. It also spells out additional reporting requirements for lobbyists, who will now be subject to random audits by the state.

The gift ban would cover all elected officials and virtually anyone employed in state government, including appointed public service commissioners who regulate utilities.

The new bill calls for fines and penalties including having licenses suspended for lobbyists who fail to meet the bill's reporting requirements.

It takes effect January first.