Ethics in Government

LWVAL Action Priority Level I (Highest) - Monitoring and action of highest priority. Major area for resource expenditures.

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LWVAL has taken a position on this bill:

thumbs_up_icon.jpgSB149 - Ethics, lobbyists required to report any item excluded from definition of thing of value whatever the actual cost, Sec. 36-25-19 am'd.

Sponsor(s): Senators Taylor and Beason

Summary/Synopsis: Regarding the quarterly reports required of lobbyists and principals employing a lobbyist, under existing law, each registered lobbyist and principal must list the cost of items excluded from the definition of a "thing of value" if the actual cost expended during a 24-hour period is greater than $250. Also, under existing law, any person who expends more than $250 in a calendar day on a public official or public employee in negotiating a contract or other financial transaction is required to report the expenditure. This bill would delete the 24-hour time period and the $250 minimum requirement so as to require the reporting of those items whatever the actual cost.

Expansions of the reporting requirements are various. (a) Any expenditure by a lobbyist to a public employee or his/her family members. (b) Expenditures by non-lobbyists would no longer have the $250 and one calendar day limitation on reports. (c) Any loan that is not a thing of value must be reported. (d) Direct business association or partnership with the public employee or a family must be revealed. Campaign contributions, however, are not deemed a business association or partnership.

League Action and Justification: LWVAL supports SB149.
This bill closes many of the loopholes in the existing Ethics law and clearly promotes full disclosure of expenditures to benefit all public employees and their families. It comes close to achieving the League’s position that: “Ethics Law should provide clear and enforceable state law regarding ethical conduct for elected and appointed officials, public employees and lobbyists. The law should establish that public office will be used for the public good not private gain and should provide a legal basis for public confidence in the integrity of government.”

Bill Progress in Legislature:
02/07/2013: First Reading and referred to the
02/14/2013: 2nd Reading and place on the Calendar; pending 3rd Reading and Favorable from CCFE&E.

05/07/2013: Indefinitely postponed.

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