Florida government sector lobbying
This practice is controversial because public funds are spent to lobby for an agenda not subject to direct approval by voters, and outcomes may be contrary to taxpayers' benefit.
For the first six months of 2009, Florida governments spent more than $5 million on government sector lobbying:
- 44 Florida cities are actively lobbying. The expenditures of these cities for 2009 total $2,001,630 for the first two quarters of 2009.
- 24 out of 70 Florida counties are actively lobbying. The expenditures of these counties total $1,817,500 for the first two quarters of 2009.
- 27 out of 67 Florida school districts have registered lobbyists. The total available information shows the districts have spent $1,257,585.12, but this is with incomplete information.
These are not exhaustive accounts of lobbying, as government sector lobbying is particularly difficult to track.
The total amount spent on lobbying by school districts in 2009 is at least $1,257,585.12.
In July 2009, Sunshine Review submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the 27 Florida school districts with lobbyists registered for 2009 with the Florida legislature. The results of the information requests are included in Florida school districts lobbying totals.
27 school districts had registered lobbyists, and every school district belongs to one or multiple organizations listed below as school government sector lobbying associations. Citrus County Schools, for example, belongs to at least five organizations.
Associations serve multiple purposes, one of which is representing the interests of school districts before legislative bodies. The associations also help in bringing different officials to talk about similar problems and help school districts meet state school policy. For Bay District Schools, the lobbyists serve both purposes.
The issues that schools advocate for include policies specific to schools, but can comprise other issues. For example, many schools support increased funding to school districts and increased funding for children's state-funded health care, such as Duval County Schools. Other school focus strictly on issues pertaining directly to school districts, such as the Indian River School District's focus on class size funds, base student allocation, and school boards' jurisdiction over sales taxes.
Schools also support and oppose legislation through their membership in school government sector lobbying associations. The Florida School Boards Association, for example, has its legislative priorities listed online. These organizations communicate the unified stance on legislation of governments (school districts and school district officials in this case) to legislators.
Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations
City and municipal
- Florida League of Cities
- Alachua County League of Cities
- Bay County League of Cities
- Broward League of Cities
- Gold Coast League of Cities
- Lake County League of Cities
- ManaSota League of Cities
- Miami-Dade League of Cities
- Northeast Florida League of Cities
- Northwest Florida League of Cities
- Okaloosa County League of Cities
- Palm Beach County League of Cities
- Ridge League of Cities
- Southwest Florida League of Cities
- Space Coast League of Cities
- Suncoast League of Cities
- Suwannee River League of Cities
- Treasure Coast League of Cities
- Tri-County League Cities
- Florida Association of Community Colleges
- Florida Association of District School Superintendents
- Florida Association of School Administrators
- Florida School Boards Association
- Small School District Council Consortium
- Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- Back to School: Florida school districts lobbying report
- Florida school districts lobbying, 2009
- Sunshine Review's Florida Back-to-School project