Blind trust elimination goes to Governor DeSantis

After controversy about the use of a blind trust by former Gov. Rick Scott, his successor could prevent the use of such trusts in the future.

A bill (SB 702) was formally sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday that would block public officials from placing their assets in blind trusts.

The House and Senate unanimously passed the measure, sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, during the legislative session that ended May 4. Scott, the wealthiest governor in state history, put his assets in a blind trust while he was in office. As a result, he did not have to publicly disclose his specific investments and business interests, as most public officials do under financial-disclosure laws.

Scott, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November, argued that using a blind trust, controlled by a trustee, shielded him from potential conflicts of interest. But the move drew controversy and a legal challenge by Tallahassee attorney Don Hinkle, who sought to require Scott to disclose more information about his assets.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in November blocked the case. DeSantis will have until June 5 to sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without his signature.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.