Municipal Ethics (H.875) - May 9, 2024

Chairman McCarthy brought the ethics bill, H.875 up for discussion on Thursday morning in the House Government Operations Committee.  He commented that the Senate’s proposal of amendment did most of what the Committee wanted and for the most part is an improvement of the bill as passed out of the House. McCarthy reviewed the changes in general and asked if the Committee was ready to vote on whether they concurred with the Senate’s amendment or not.  The vote to concur was 9-1-2.

The Chair specifically noted the various effective dates which ranged from 7/1/25 to 9/1/25 and 1/1/26 to provide a long transition period for all concerned. The one area of disagreement remaining is between the League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) and the Ethics Commission. The Commission felt strongly that there was a conflict of interest with the league being on the commission as they provide insurance to its members.

Senators Clarkson and Hardy expressed their disappointment that the two entities could not come to some agreement. The Committee eventually decided, as previously reported, that they did not understand the Commissions concern and voted to approve two former board members from the VLCT, one appointed by the Speaker of the House and the other appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees.  Hardy asked both VLCT and the Commission about how to handle the handoff of ethics complaints between the Commission and the municipality. They decided that a mandatory consultation was not necessary but would happen as needed.

The bill reached the House floor on Thursday afternoon and was approved 93-33. The bill will now be sent to the Governor.

See the bill summary prepared by Legislative Counsel.

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