Today House Gop Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) was joined by Senate GOP Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) to unveil a proposed ethics package following the breakdown in negotiations on ethics reform last week. The discussions broke down on the ethics bill because it did not include a “true” pension revocation provision, and did not require the reporting of the witnessing of a bribe.
The nine-point proposal holds elected leaders and thousands of state employees, both union and non-union, to tougher ethical standards. Highlights include:
- Pension revocation for elected officials, state and municipal employees upon conviction of a crime related to their employment. Republicans would call upon the attorney general to petition the court for the legal action;
- Failure to report a bribe would become a Class A Misdemeanor if the public servant witnesses the offer;
- Chiefs of staff in the Capitol would be barred from soliciting campaign contributions from staff members for state or municipal elections;
- Mandatory ethics training for newly elected officials and refresher courses for incumbents every four years;
- Restricts future employment with state contractors for one year for a state employee or official who played a significant role in awarding a state contract.
For greater details on the proposal read below…
Pension Revocation: Calls upon the Attorney General to petition the court for pension reduction or revocation for state employees, public officials and municipal officials upon their pleading guilty or no contest to or being convicted of a crime related to their position;
Failure To Report A Bribe: Makes failing to report a bribe a Class A Misdemeanor, if a public servant (which includes state employees and elected officials) knew or should have known a bribe was being offered to them or another public servant;
Campaign Solicitations: Bars chiefs of staff of the legislative caucuses from soliciting campaign contributions from legislative caucus staff for state, district or municipal races; Bars chiefs of staff of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor from soliciting contributions from members of their respective staffs, including commissioners and deputy commissioners, for state, district or municipal races; Bars chiefs of staff of state-wide elected (Constitutional Officers) officials from soliciting campaign contributions from their respective staffs for state, district or municipal races;
Mandatory Ethics Training: Requires ethics training for all newly-elected legislators starting no later than Dec. 2010, and requires refresher courses for incumbent legislators every four years starting in 2011, except that if the Ethics Code is significantly changed, the Jt. Committee on Legislative Management can request legislators go through a refresher course;
Limiting Major Life Events: Limits gifts under the “major life event” exception to $1,000 or less;
Governor’s Spouse: Includes the Governor’s spouse in the definition of “public official” for the purposes of the ethics code;
Office of State Ethics (“OSE”)-Ex Parte Communications, Subpoena Powers, and Attendance of Members of the Citizens’ Ethics Advisory Board (“CEAB”). Prohibits ex parte communications between the CEAB, any of its members, and the trial judge referee or the enforcement division of the OSE concerning the complaint or the subject of the complaint; Requires CEAB members to be present during all enforcement action hearings in order to vote on the enforcement action; and the OSE may issue a subpoena provided either the CEAB takes a majority vote to issue the subpoena or the chair signs the subpoena. The vice-chair may sign if the chair is unavailable.
Public Agency Posting Of Information: Requires the posting of: minutes of a public meeting within seven days of the meeting on the agency’s Web site, the schedule of regular meetings for a calendar year by January 31st of that year and, a notice of any special meeting on the agency’s Web site not less than 24 hours before the meeting;
Conforming Change to Contracting Provision: Prohibits a state contractor for one year from offering employment to a state official or employee who participated in a significant way in the awarding of the contract to that state contractor