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DSO/CSO Transparency and Accountability Legislation Passes Community Affairs Committee

Mar 11 • 358 Views • View Comments

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Tallahassee — The Florida Senate Committee on Community Affairs, chaired by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), today approved Senate Bill 1194, Citizen Support and Direct Support Organizations. The legislation, sponsored by the Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability, establishes reporting requirements for statutorily-authorized Citizen Support (CSOs) and Direct Support Organizations (DSOs).

“DSOs and CSOs often perform the traditional functions of government,” said Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville). “They receive taxpayer funds. They operate under the endorsement of government. They represent government officials and government interests. For better or worse, their activities become synonymous with government.”

“We need to have proper oversight,” continued President Gaetz. “This legislation will increase transparency and accountability within statutorily-created CSOs and DSOs, so we can ensure Florida taxpayers that entities which are in some cases indistinguishable from government have the proper oversight of government.”

Senate Bill 1194 requires each Direct Support Organization or Citizen Support Organization to annually submit a report to their “parent” agency. The report will then be available on the agency website. Among other things, the report shall include: (1) the authority under which the organization was created along with information regarding the mission/purpose of the organization; (2) a three-year fiscal outlook for the organization; (3) a copy of the organization’s adopted code of ethics; (4) a copy of the organization’s most recent federal exempt organization tax form(s), which are already a public record; and (5) financial reports that show revenues and state or federal funds received; expenses for travel, lobbying, entertainment, and capital improvements; and employee, officer, and contractor compensation.

The legislation also creates a five-year sunset review provision for laws creating or authorizing each Direct Support Organization or Citizen Support Organization in existence on July 1, 2014, and for any such organization created or authorized in the future.

Continuing to increase accountability and transparency among Florida’s quasi-governmental organizations is a priority of President Gaetz and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel). For more information on the 5-point joint legislative agenda, Work Plan Florida 2014, please visit www.FLSenate.gov.

 

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