End of Session Wrap Up: Public Information & Ethics Legislation

This post summarizes the final status of various public information and ethics bills that MACo either considered or took a position on.

Financial Disclosure Requirements for Local Government Officials:   HB 1177 / SB 948 is a MACo bill designed to clarify the new financial disclosure requirements for local elected officials and school board members that were required by 2010 legislation.  MACo supported the bills and also supported amendments offered by MML that were adopted by the bill sponsors.  As amended, the bill would authorize a local government or school board to require an elected official or school board member to disclose certain holdings in business interests only if the business entity does business with or is regulated by the local government or school board. If the business interest becomes disclosable after the most recent reporting period, the official or board member has 30 days to disclose the interest after learning that the interest is disclosable.  The amendments also create similar provisions for the disclosure of property holdings, indebtedness, and family income.  FINAL STATUS:  The House did did not take action on HB 1177.  The Senate did not take action on SB 948.

MACo HB 1177 Testimony

Online Disclosure Requirements for State and County Officials:  As introduced, SB 920 would require certain ethics disclosure forms of State officials to be posted online.  County and municipal officials and board of education members would be exempt from the online disclosure requirement.  The bill also would require the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics to make a determination regarding whether a State legislator can participate in a matter that involves a potential conflict of interest.  An amendment added on the Senate floor required county officials to file their financial disclosure forms electronically and have their forms posted online.  MACo opposed the bill after the addition of the Senate amendment and requested the House remove the county provision. FINAL STATUS:  The House amended the bill to remove the county provision and limit the online disclosure for State legislators to conflict of interest and outside employment information.  A joint Senate and House workgroup will be appointed to study State and local government ethics disclosure law over the 2012 Session.  The Senate accepted the House amendments.

MACo SB 920 Testimony

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