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Bill Summary Details

Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 853 (Sirois) amends provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees relating to conflicting business and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, annual ethics training and financial disclosure requirements. For purposes of conflicting relationships and whether an officer or employee has a material interest in a business entity, the bill specifies that contractual relationships held by a business entity will be deemed to be held by the officer or employee if the entity is not publicly traded or the officer or employee is an officer, director or member who manages such entity. The bill amends voting conflict requirements to include special district and school board members and modifies participation requirements currently applicable only to appointed public officers to include elected county, municipal or other local public officers, special district or school board members. In addition to a prohibition on voting, such officer may not participate (i.e., discuss or debate) in the conflicted matter without first disclosing the nature of his or her interest. The bill expands persons required to file Form 6 (full) financial disclosure to include elected mayors and governing body members of municipalities having more than $10 million in total revenue. The Department of Financial Services is required to provide an annual report to the Commission on Ethics showing the total revenues for each municipality. A municipality’s failure to file its annual financial report with the Department creates a presumption the municipality has more than $10 million in annual revenues for purposes of the financial disclosure requirement. The bill lists the minimum course contents for public officer ethics training requirements and expands the class of officers required to complete annual ethics training to include special district and water management district board members. Persons required to complete annual ethics training must certify completion of the training on their financial disclosure forms as well as identify the name of the training provider. The failure to certify completion of ethics training or to identify the training provider is deemed a material error or omission. (O’Hara)