May 20, 2011 •
Expected to be Selected During Summer
Members of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission will have 39 applicants to choose from when replacing current Executive Director Robert Meyers, who is resigning his position after 12 years with the commission.
Included in the 39 applicants, among other professions, are two retired former Miami-Dade prosecutors, a former assistant attorney general, an assistant public defender, and a former daytime television judge.
The commission is expected to narrow the list of candidates at their upcoming meeting on May 26, 2011. After narrowing the list, interviews of the finalists will take place and a new executive director is expected to be named during the summer.
May 18, 2011 •
On Monday, May 16th Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed three new executive orders and reissued three additional executive orders.
The three reissued executive orders include a ban on political contributions to the mayor from the owners of companies that do business with the city, an order requiring city employees to comply with hiring oversight rules, and an order reaffirming that it is the duty of every city employee to report wrongdoing to the inspector general.
The first new executive order prohibits new appointees from lobbying city government for two years after leaving the administration, bars lower level employees from lobbying the departments or agencies in which they work, and bars appointees to boards and commissions from lobbying the board or commission on which they sit.
The second new executive order protects city employees from being pressured to give gifts or make political contributions to their superiors.
The third new executive order prohibits city lobbyists from making political contributions to the mayor.
May 9, 2011 •
Governor to Make New Appointment
Jennifer Hensley, who has held the position of Commissioner of Political Practices since her nomination in January of 2011, was refused confirmation by the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a brief confirmation hearing on Hensley’s nomination, but never voted on her nomination before adjournment of the legislative session.
Governor Schweitzer asked the top four Republican and Democratic legislative leaders to send him a list of nominees for the position by May 11. The Governor may choose a nominee from the list or make an independent appointment to serve out the remainder of Hensley’s six-year term.
May 3, 2011 •
The U.S. House Committee on Ethics has chosen a new staff director.
According to a Politico article by John Bresnahan: “Daniel Schwager, a lawyer on the Senate Ethics Committee, was approved by the House panel in a bipartisan vote Monday to take over the super-sensitive post, which had been vacant since January.”
Photo of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda by UpstateNYer on Wikipedia.
April 15, 2011 •
Georgia Legislators Vote to Patch Ethics Loophole as Session Ends
The Georgia General Assembly adjourned late Thursday, April 14, 2011. Among the measures passed on the final legislative day was Senate Bill 160, requiring lobbyist reporting of expenditures made on behalf or for the benefit of a public employee for the purpose of influencing a public officer. The measure will now be sent to the desk of Governor Nathan Deal for his signature.
Senate Bill 160 was amended earlier in the week to close a loophole in state ethics law made public after Advisory Opinion 2011-03, released by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, concluded state law did not require the reporting of such expenditures.
The final semi-monthly disclosure report for state level lobbyists will be due May 1, 2011. Further, the first monthly disclosure report for state level lobbyists will be due June 5, 2011.
Photo of the Georgia State Capitol dome by Connor.carey on Wikipedia.
April 14, 2011 •
Acting Governor Tomblin signed House Bill 2464 into law late last week.
This ethics bill, which takes effect on July 1, 2011, prohibits members of the state legislature, elected executive branch officials, agency heads, and certain other appointed officials from acting as lobbyists for one year after leaving office.
Additionally, this legislation will require a public official who files financial disclosure statements to reveal employment information and other “business interests” of his or her spouse.
The spousal disclosures are designed to shine light on additional conflicts of interest an official may have even without a personal stake in a matter.
Photo of the West Virginia State Capitol by Garkeith on Wikipedia.
April 13, 2011 •
House Approves Ethics Measure in Georgia; Senate to Review Measure Next
The Georgia House of Representatives voted Tuesday to close a loophole in the state ethics law concerning expenditures made on behalf or for the benefit of public employees.
The House voted to amend Senate Bill 160 to add provisions requiring lobbyist reporting of expenditures made on behalf or for the benefit of a public employee for the purpose of influencing a public officer after Advisory Opinion 2011-03, released by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, concluded state law did not require the reporting of such expenditures.
The bill must now return to the Senate for a vote on the House amendment.
Photo of the Georgia State Capitol dome by Connor.carey on Wikipedia.
April 13, 2011 •
New Mexico Law Closes Revolving Door for Government Procurement Employees
Governor Martinez has signed Senate Bill 432 prohibiting state and local government employees who are involved in the contracting process from subsequently being employed by a contractor. The bill expands the existing Governmental Conduct Act to apply to state and local government employees involved in the procurement process.
Under the new law, state agencies are barred from entering into contracts with a business represented by a person who has been an employee of the state within one year if the value of the contract is in excess of $1,000 and the contract is a direct result of an official act by the former employee. The law becomes effective July 1, 2011.
April 12, 2011 •
Colorado Independent Ethics Commission Releases Position Statement on Adjusted Gift Limit
The Independent Ethics Commission released Position Statement 11-01 on Friday, April 8, 2011. In this statement, the Commission adjusted the limit on gifts to public officials and employees in the state of Colorado to $53 per calendar year, up from $50.
Pursuant to Article XXIX section 3(6), which was part of the 2006 voter-approved Amendment 41, the limit is to be adjusted based upon inflation every four years. This is the first such adjustment required.
Photo of downtown Denver by 33mhz on Wikipedia.
April 7, 2011 •
The first of two compliance dates for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 206(4)-5, which had an effective date of September 13, 2010, passed on March 14, 2011.
The rule prohibits investment advisers from providing investment advisory services for compensation to a government entity within two years after a contribution to an official of that government entity is made, either by the investment adviser or by any covered associate of the investment adviser. This prohibition does not apply to contributions made by a covered associate to officials for whom the covered associate was entitled to vote at the time of the contributions if the contributions did not exceed $350 in the aggregate to any one official, per election. The prohibitions also do not apply to contributions made by a covered associate to officials for whom the covered associate was not entitled to vote at the time of the contributions if the contributions did not exceed $150 in the aggregate to any one official, per election.
An additional prohibition prevents an investment adviser from providing or agreeing to provide, directly or indirectly, payment to any person to solicit a government entity for investment advisory services unless that person is a regulated person or is an executive officer, general partner, managing member, or employee of the investment adviser. Nor may such advisers coordinate or solicit any person or political action committee to make a contribution to an official of a government entity to which the adviser is providing or seeking to provide investment advisory services or payment to a political party of a state or locality where the investment adviser is providing or seeking to provide investment advisory services to a government entity.
The rule has two important compliance dates. The March 14, 2011 date applied to investment advisers subject to the rule. The other compliance date, September 13, 2011, is when investment advisers will no longer be able to use third parties to solicit government business except in compliance with this rule. Additionally, advisers to registered investment pools have until the September 13 date to comply with this rule.
April 1, 2011 •
Bill’s Provision Relating to Campaign Finance Found Void, Procurement Provision Stand
Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green ruled that Senate Bill 844, which became effective August 28, 2010, is unconstitutional because it covers multiple subjects. The Missouri constitution requires that bills contain only one subject.
The bill sharply restricted transfers between campaign committees, boosted the enforcement powers of the Missouri Ethics Commission, and created measures aimed at reducing situations in which candidates channeled money through several committees to obscure their source. The court found that the procurement measures in the bill were the “original controlling purpose,” and thus should be upheld while all other measures relating to campaign finance are void.
March 29, 2011 •
Bills Seek to Improve Public Access to Procurement and Budgetary Information
Two bills were introduced before the Council of the District of Columbia as part of a series of measures to enhance transparency in the District government.
The first bill seeks to enact the Sunshine in Procurement Act of 2011 which requires the Council to post contract information, including the contract, solicitation, purchase orders, invoices, and change orders on its website. Additionally, sole-source and emergency procurement information would need to be posted, including the determination and findings supporting those procurements.
The second bill, referred to as the Open Government Act of 2011, expands the responsibilities of the newly created Open Government Office, improves the District’s Freedom of Information Act, requires agencies to prepare biennial transparency plans, and improves the transparency of the District’s budget information.
Photo of the John A. Wilson Building, home of the city government of Washington, D.C., by Awiseman on Wikipedia.
March 23, 2011 •
Utah and Louisiana
UTAH: Governor Gary Herbert has called a special session of the legislature to convene at noon on March 25. The governor stated the purpose of the special session will be to repeal HB477, an open records law which the governor had previously signed earlier this month. The legislature had adjourned on March 10.
LOUISIANA: The legislature convened on March 20 for an ‘extraordinary session’ to establish redistricting boundaries for all congressional, state and local entities’ elections. The session is scheduled for no later than April 13. The regular session of the legislature convenes on April 25.
March 23, 2011 •
New Ethics Code Concerns Free Tickets to Events
Commissioners in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina have agreed to a change in the county’s ethics code preventing themselves and other county employees from soliciting or receiving tickets to cultural or sporting events supported by the county.
If the county has included money, either directly or indirectly, or if an employee knows or has reason to know county money may be requested for an event, employees will no longer be able to receive complimentary tickets. County employees are still free to purchase their own tickets to sporting and cultural events without violating the new policy.
Photo of the Charlotte, North Carolina skyline by Riction on Wikipedia.
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