December 20, 2011 •
Baltimore County, MD Passes Ethics Bill
The Baltimore County Council has passed a wide-ranging ethics bill after scaling back parts of the original bill proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. A series of amendments sponsored by all seven council members weakened parts of the original bill dealing with when officials can accept gifts and what defines a conflict of interest for council members.
In an effort to exceed the requirements set by a 2010 state law, Kamenetz’s original bill said public officials could not accept gifts from someone they know does business “with the county.” The council narrowed the rule to say they could not accept gifts from anyone they know does business with the “public official’s office, agency, board or commission.”
The new bill also deleted an entire section defining conflicts of interest specifically for council members in favor of a broader definition that applies to all public officials. The new bill still requires elected officials’ financial disclosure forms to be posted online starting in May 2012.
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