Florida's Sunshine Laws: Ethics

Course Overview

Florida's Sunshine Laws: Ethics
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
This course should take around four hours to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

This interactive online program provides an overview of Florida’s ethics requirements and is designed for Florida public officers and staff--as well as anyone interested in ethical standards for public officials. It is part of a package developed by the First Amendment Foundation and The Poynter Institute, combining the best of the Foundation's training with the flexibility of online learning.

This course is part of several programs:

IMPORTANT: If you enroll in this course individually, you will not be eligible for the Sunshine Certificate or CLE hours. You must enroll in the appropriate certificate program to receive credit.

What Will I Learn:
  • Who is subject to Florida's ethics laws
  • When solicitation or acceptance of gifts is prohibited, and how to report gifts
  • How to remain ethical with employment and business relationships
  • How to avoid conflicts of interest
  • What to expect when the Commission on Ethics investigates allegations of violations
  • Penalties for failing to comply to ethical standards
Who should take this course:

All constitutional officers and elected municipal officers who are required to receive annual open government training. Attorneys who wish to earn 14.5 general CLEs, including 5 ethics CLEs. Journalists and other members of the public who want a deeper understanding of Florida's ethics guidelines.

Course Instructors:

Barbara Petersen

Barbara Petersen is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Florida State University College of Law. She has been president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation since 1995, and was previously a staff attorney for the Joint Committee on Information Technology Resources of the Florida Legislature, where she worked exclusively on public records legislation and issues.

Cindy Miller

Cindy Miller specializes in energy, telecommunications, and Florida administrative law. She served as a senior attorney (intergovernmental counsel) at the Florida Public Service Commission for more than 20 years. She was responsible for monitoring federal energy and telecommunications actions and preparing comments and Court documents for the Commission's consideration. In the energy arena, these included comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on reliability and public policy matters related to energy delivery and state jurisdiction. She made presentations at more than 200 Internal Affairs. She was the lead attorney on dozens of complex rulemakings. She also advised the Commission on ethics issues for two decades.

Training Partner:

First Amendment Foundation

The First Amendment Foundation believes that government openness and transparency is critical to citizen trust and involvement in a democratic society — without Government in the Sunshine, civic engagement cannot bloom. Through ongoing monitoring of the state’s public records and open meetings laws, and the education of government officials and the citizens they serve about those laws, the Foundation promotes the public’s constitutional right to oversee and to participate in the governance process.