PALMETTO BAY (CBSMiami) – Florida Representative Frank Artiles has confirmed that he is currently violating the Florida constitution by living outside his House district, far from his constituents, months after they elected him to the legislature.
Artiles was elected last November to serve House District 119, in Southwest Miami-Dade. He did not live in that district when he ran, which is allowed under the law, but once elected the Florida Constitution required him move his legal residence there.
Instead, reporters found that he was still living in his Palmetto Bay home in District 115, miles away from the district he represents.
Ariles, a Republican, told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald that he agrees he is violating the constitutional requirement, but offered an explanation.
“I thought I had six months to move. I was misinformed. But ignorance of the law is no excuse. This was my fault,” he told The Herald.
He declined to say where he obtained the bad advice, but admitted he should have known the law.
Under the law, Artiles could face a significant fine for breaking the law, his $81.36 salary for each of the 180 days he has lived outside of his district.
Artiles said he plans to have a home among the people he represents by May 1, and will pay any fine he is assessed.
Last month, he joined in a vote fining another House member who missed the residency deadline by 15 days. Artiles claims he simply voted with the chair, and did not know what he was voting on.
The residency issue was first uncovered by Elaine del Valle’s Political Cortadito blog.