Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch)

Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 7003 (formerly PCB PIE 18-02) (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) and SB 1534 (Mayfield) revise provisions in the state Ethics Code regarding financial disclosure, conflicting employment and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, and the regulation of persons who lobby before local governments. The bills would require elected municipal mayors and governing board officers of municipalities with $10 million or more in revenues as defined in the bill to file the full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6) rather than the current requirement to file the lesser detailed financial disclosure (Form 1). The bills modify current law on voting conflicts. Under current law, if an elected official has a conflict on a matter, they are required the official to disclose the conflict and prohibited from voting on the matter. The official may still participate in any discussion on the matter prior to the vote. The bills would strengthen this language to prohibit a public officer from participating in any discussion on a matter without first disclosing the existence of the conflict. The bills modify the current law restriction on conflicting employment or contractual relationships by providing that if public officer or employee of an agency holds a material interest in a business entity other than a publicly traded entity, or is an officer, director or member who manages such an entity, the contractual relationships held by the business entity would be deemed to be held by the public officer or employee. The bills also establish a statewide registration and reporting process for persons who “lobby” local governmental entities, as defined in the bills. The bills preempt to the state local government lobbyist registration requirements and prohibit the imposition of any registration fees by local governments, but authorize local governments to impose other regulations on lobbying activities, such as compensation and similar disclosure requirements. (O’Hara)