Ethics bill includes mandatory e-filing


Ethics legislation enacted by the General Assembly includes a requirement that starting next year lobbyists, candidates and state officials file disclosures electronically.

E-Filing will speed public disclosure of semi-annual conflict of interests and lobbyist disclosures. 

HB2070 and SB1424 would require the Ethics Advisory Council to post the documents online. While e-filing coiuld make instant disclosure possible, the legislation could allow Council to delay public disclosure up to six weeks.

Before they adjourned, legislators also restored funding for the Ethics Council, which was set up last year to collect disclosures and to issue advisory guidance to candidates, lobbyists and state officials. Funding for the Ethics Council includes $393,000 in general fund money for the year starting July 1 and another estimated $150,000 in revenue from lobbyist registration fees.

The Council's funding will be boosted, in part, by an increase in the annual lobbyist registration fee to $100 from $50.

The measure now goes to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who can sign, amend or veto the bill.

Even if McAuliffe signs the bill, it remains unclear when the Ethics Council will get up and running. The Council was authorized to begin in July 2014, but has not yet met in part because McAuliffe -- insisting the Council lacked independent authority -- refused to make his four appointments.

This year's legislation reduced the number of Council members to nine from 15, eliminating six slots for citizen members.

Here are the changes in the membership of the Ethics Council, effective January 1, 2016:

  • Sitting Legislators: 4 (up from 2)
  • Retired Judges: 3 (up from zero)
  • Citizen Members: 0 (down from 6)
  • Appointees recommended by the Virginia Association of Counties: 1 (no change)
  • Appointees recommended by the Virginia Municipal League: 1 (no change)
  • Executive Branch Employees: 0 (down from 2)
  • Former Legislators: 0 (down from 2)
  • Persons designed by the Attorney General: 0 (down from 1)

This year's legislation also eliminated a provision to have all local officials file ethics forms with the Council. starting later this year. The move dramatically scales back the volume of forms the Council's three-member staff would process.

The legislation also made the following changes in the powers granted to the Council:

  • The Council "may" review all disclosures for completeness. (The law enacted last year said the Council "shall" review for completeness)
  • The Council shall accept and review any statement from a legislator or official disputing a gift report filed by a lobbyist.
  • The Council shall redact the home address, personal telephone number or signature contained on any form.

 

March 1, 2015

Updates Home

Updates RSS Feed

Browse updates by month:

November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020

(Show All)
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008