Judge halts law requiring more extensive financial disclosures from local officials

Author: Aisling Swift, Gulfshore Business
Published: Updated:
Credit: Naples government

A federal judge ruled that a 2023 state law requiring municipal elected officials and candidates to disclose detailed financial information violates their rights, siding with municipal officials who sued.

U.S. District Judge Melissa Damian issued a preliminary injunction June 10, ruling that SB 774, which was passed by the state Legislature last year, violates candidates’ and local elected officials’ First Amendment rights because it compels free speech. The law went into effect Jan. 1, but the injunction, which bars the Florida Election Commission from enforcing it, came just weeks before candidates and officials were required to file the form July 1.

“After a thorough and careful consideration of the record, this court concludes that defendants have failed to establish that the state seriously undertook the consideration of less intrusive means to address the identified interests,” Damian wrote in her 33-page ruling.

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