Agenda Item 4A
November 25, 2015
Drummer, Senior Legislative
Expedited Bill 49-15, Ethics - Update
Expedited Bill 49-15, Ethics - Update, sponsored by Lead Sponsor Councilmember
Leventhal, is scheduled to be introduced on December 1, 2015. A public hearing is tentatively
scheduled for January 12,2016 at 1:30 p.m.
Bill 49-15 would revise several provisions of the County Ethics Law governing conflicts
of interest and financial disclosure to meet the requirements of State law.
The State Ethics law requires that the County Ethics law be
the State law for all
public employees except elected officials, and must be
"equivalent to or exceed the requirements
of" State law for elected officials (County Executive and Councilmembers).
both cases, the
law allows the County to modifY its law "to the extent necessary to
make the provisions
relevant to the prevention of conflicts of interest
State Ethics Commission apparently interprets the latter phrase to only allow those modifications of
County law that would make the County law more stringent than the State law; however, that is not
what this proviso says.
Council staff's view, the primary goal of the County Ethics Law generally
should be to improve the County law and make it clearer, more effective, and easier
enforce, rather than simply conform it to the State law in every detail.
Bil139-14, Ethics Amendments, enacted by the Council on July 21,2015, signed into law
by the Executive on July 31, 2015, and effective October 30, 2015, made some significant
amendments to the County Ethics Law to conform to the State Ethics Law. On September 10,
2015, the State Ethics Commission reviewed the County Ethics Law, as amended by Bill 39-14,
and concluded that it conformed to the State Ethics Law with several minor exceptions. See the
letter from Assistant General Counsel, Katherine Thompson dated September 21,2015 attached at
©5-6. Bill 49-15 would amend the County Ethics Law to satisfY the State Commission's concerns.