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50 State Definitions of Public Official Officer

Ethics: Definitions of "Public Official" and "Public Officer"

Updated December 2013

Table for each state and each territory

Is a state legislator a public official?  Is a state employee a public officer?  And why does this matter?

In many states, ethics laws are written to apply to "public officials" or "public officers." The subtleties in defining these terms play a significant role in determining who and what offices are subject to state ethics regulations.

Definition.  According to Black's Law Dictionary a "public official" is "[o]ne who holds or is invested with a public office; a person elected or appointed to carry out some portion of a government's sovereign powers."  "Public officer" is defined in a similar way.  For this research, the terms "public officials" and "public officers" are interchangeable.

While each state has taken slightly different approaches, both terms usually include persons who have been elected to an office at the state or local levels. States differ on including appointed offices, judges and state employees.

Appointed offices.  About half of the states also include offices which are appointed, instead of elected, in their definitions of "public official." Georgia, Nevada, and Utah take a slightly more restrictive approach and deem appointive positions to be "public officials" only when the officeholder is authorized to exercise some portion of the government's sovereign powers.  New York includes appointed officials who receive minimal remuneration. 

Judicial branch.  Eight states exclude members of the judicial branch from their definition of public official. These states are California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma and South Carolina, those South Carolina designates probate judges as public officials.

Public employees.  Less than half of the states include state employees in their definitions of "public official" and of those, most only include high-level employees.  Effective June 2008, Illinois added "sworn law enforcement or peace officers" to their definition.

Excluding legislators.  A few states, including New Hampshire and North Carolina, exclude legislators from definition of "public official?"  In New Mexico, legislators are excluded from certain ethics laws that govern public officials.

State variations.  Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon define "public official" differently for different state statutes.  Texas defines "appointed officer," "elected officer," "state employee," and "state officer" separately.

AL AK | AZ | AR | CA | CO | CT | DC | DE | FL | GA | HI | ID | IL | IN | IA | KS | KY | LA | ME | MD | MA | MI | MN | MS | MO | MT | NE | NV | NH | NJ | NM | NY | NC | ND | OH | OK | OR | PA | RI | SC | SD | TN | TX | UT | VT | VA | WA | WV | WI | WY | GU | PR | VI

 

State Statutory Provision

Alabama

 

 

Code of Ala. § 36-25-1

Public official. Any person elected to public office, whether or not that person has taken office, by the vote of the people at state, county, or municipal level of government or their instrumentalities, including governmental corporations, and any person appointed to a position at the state, county, or municipal level of government or their instrumentalities, including governmental corporations. For purposes of this chapter, a public official includes the chairs and vice-chairs or the equivalent offices of each state political party as defined in Section 17-16-2.

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 09.25.390

"Public official" means a person elected to a public office created by the Constitution or laws of this state, whether executive, legislative, or judicial, and who was holding that office at the time of the communication for which privilege is claimed;

Alaska Stat. § 24.45.171 

Legislature; Regulation of Lobbying; Definitions

"Public official" or "public officer" means a public official as defined is AS 39.50.200 (a), a member of the legislature, or a legislative director as defined in AS 24.60.990 (a); however, it does not include a judicial officer or an elected or appointed municipal officer.

Alaska Stat. § 39.50.200

Public officers and employees; Public official financial disclosure; Definitions

(8) "public official" means

(A) a judicial officer;

(B) the governor or the lieutenant governor;

(C) a person hired or appointed in a department in the executive branch as

(i) the head or deputy head of the department;

(ii) the director or deputy director of a division;

(iii) a special assistant to the head of the department;

(iv) a person serving as the legislative liaison for the department;

(D) an assistant to the governor or the lieutenant governor;

(E) the chair or a member of a state commission or board;

(F) state investment officers and the state comptroller in the Department of Revenue;

(G) [Repealed, Sec. 10 ch 29 SLA 1999, effective July 1, 2000].

(H) the chief procurement officer appointed under AS 36.30.010;

(I) the executive director of the Alaska Human Resource Investment Council; and

(J) each appointed or elected municipal officer;

Arizona

 

A.R.S. § 41-1231

"Public official" means a person who is duly elected, appointed or retained through election to an elected state, county or local office.

"State officer" means a person who is duly elected, appointed or retained through election to any state office, or a member of any state board, commission or council, and includes a member of the legislature.

Arkansas 

A.C.A. § 21-8-402

As used in this subchapter (disclosure)

(6) "Governmental body" means any office, department, commission, council, board, committee, legislative body, agency, or other establishment of the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of the state, municipality, county, school district, improvement district, or any political district or subdivision thereof; 

(9) "Legislator" means any person who is a member of the General Assembly, a quorum court of any county, or the city council or board of directors of any municipality;

(15)  (A) "Public appointee" means an individual who is appointed to a governmental body. (B) "Public appointee" shall not include an individual appointed to an elective office;

(16)  (A) "Public employee" means an individual who is employed by a governmental body or who is appointed to serve a governmental body. (B) "Public employee" shall not include public officials or public appointees;

(17) "Public official" means a legislator or any other person holding an elective office of any governmental body, whether elected or appointed to the office, and shall include such persons during the time period between the date they were elected and the date they took office;

(18) "Public servant" means all public officials, public employees, and public appointees;

A.C.A. § 21-8-301

As used in this subchapter (conflict of interest):
(1) "Governmental body" means an office, department, commission, council, board, committee, legislative body, agency, or other establishment of the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of the state, municipality, county, school district, improvement district, or any political district or subdivision thereof;
(2)  (A) "Public appointee" means an individual who is appointed to a governmental body. (B) "Public appointee" does not include an individual appointed to an elective office;

(3)  (A) "Public employee" means an individual who is employed by a governmental body or who is appointed to serve a governmental body. (B) "Public employee" does not include a public official or a public appointee;

(4)  (A) "Public official" means a person holding an elective office of any governmental body, whether elected or appointed to the office. (B) "Public official" includes a person holding an elective office of any governmental body, whether elected or appointed to the office, during the time period between the date he or she is elected or appointed and the date he or she takes office; and

(5) "Public servant" means a: (A) Public appointee; (B) Public employee; or (C) Public official.

California

Cal Gov Code § 82020"Elected officer" means any person who holds an elective office or has been elected to an elective office but has not yet taken office. A person who is appointed to fill a vacant elective office is an elected officer.

Cal Gov Code § 82021. "Elected state officer" means any person who holds an elective state office or has been elected to an elective state office but has not yet taken office. A person who is appointed to fill a vacant elective state office is an elected state officer.

Cal Gov Code § 82023. "Elective office" means any state, regional, county, municipal, district or judicial office that is filled at an election…

Cal Gov Code § 82024. "Elective state office" means the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Member of the Legislature, member elected to the Board of Administration of the Public Employees' Retirement System, member elected to the Teachers' Retirement Board, and member of the State Board of Equalization.

Cal Gov Code § 82048 

(a) "Public official" means every member, officer, employee or consultant of a state or local government agency.

(b)  Notwithstanding subdivision (a), "public official" does not include the following:

 (1)  A judge or court commissioner in the judicial branch of government.

 (2)  A member of the Board of Governors and designated employees of the State Bar of California.

 (3)  A member of the Judicial Council.

 (4)  A member of the Commission on Judicial Performance, provided that he or she is subject to the provisions of Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 6035) of Chapter 4 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code as provided in Section 6038 of that article.

 (5) A federal officer or employee serving in an official federal capacity on a state or local government agency.

Cal Gov Code § 82049

"State agency" means every state office, department, division, bureau, board and commission, and the Legislature.

Colorado

C.R.S. 24-6-203

(b) (I) As used in this section, the term "public office" means any office voted for in this state at any election.

(II) "Public office" does not include:

(A) The office of president or vice president of the United States;

(B) The office of senator or representative in the congress of the United States;

(C) Any office in a political party chosen pursuant to sections 1-3-103, 1-4-403, and 1-4-701, C.R.S.;

(D) Any political party office in an assembly or convention, including delegates thereto; or

(E) Any elective office within a special district for which the annual compensation is less than twelve hundred dollars.

(III) "Public office" includes the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, state board of education, regents of the university of Colorado, the Colorado court of appeals, or the supreme court of Colorado.

(c) As used in this section, "statewide elected office" means the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, members of the state board of education, regents of the university of Colorado, members of the general assembly, or district attorneys.

Notes: Police officers are public officials. Willis v. Perry, 677 P.2d 961 (Colo. App. 1983).

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-79

(For purposes of the Code of Ethics for public officials)

(k) "Public official" means any state-wide elected officer, any member or member-elect of the General Assembly, any person appointed to any office of the legislative, judicial or executive branch of state government by the Governor or an appointee of the Governor, with or without the advice and consent of the General Assembly, any public member or representative of the teachers' unions or state employees' unions appointed to the Investment Advisory Council pursuant to subsection (a) of section 3-13b, any person appointed or elected by the General Assembly or by any member of either house thereof, and any member or director of a quasi-public agency, and the spouse of the Governor, but shall not include a member of an advisory board, a judge of any court either elected or appointed or a senator or representative in Congress.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-91

(For purposes of the Code of Ethics for Lobbyists)

(p) "Public Official" means any state-wide elected state officer, any member or member-elect of the General Assembly, any person appointed to any office of the legislative, judicial or executive branch of state government by the Governor, with or without the advice or consent of the General Assembly, the spouse of the Governor and any person appointed or elected by the General Assembly or any member of either house thereof; but shall not include a member of an advisory board or a senator or representative in Congress.

District of Columbia

D.C. Code: Division I, Title I, Chapter 11, Subchapter I

(11) The term "public official" means any official in the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of the District of Columbia government.

(10) The term "official in the legislative branch" means any candidate for Chairman or member of the Council in a primary, special, or general election, the Chairman or Chairman-elect or any member or member-elect of the Council, officers and employees of the Council appointed under the authority of §§ 1-609.01 through 1-609.03 or designated in §1-609.08.

Delaware

 

11 Del. C. § 1240

(b) "Public official or public servant" includes any elected official, appointed official, officer or employee of the State or any political subdivision thereof, any judge or other judicial officer, any person participating as a juror, or any person acting as an advisor, contractor or consultant in performing a governmental function. "Public official or public servant" shall include persons who are candidates for office or who have been elected to office, but who have not yet assumed office. For the purposes of this section "public official or public servant" also includes any person who formerly held a position as a public official or public servant.

(Laws Regulating the Conduct of Officers and Employees of the State)

29 5804 (13) "State officer" means any person who is required by subchapter II of this chapter to file a financial disclosure statement but does not include: a. Members of the General Assembly;b. The Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court;c. The Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors of the Court of Chancery;d. The President Judge and Judges of Superior Court;e. The Chief Judge and Judges of Family Court;f. The Chief Judge and Judges of the Court of Common Pleas; or g. The Chief Magistrate and Justices of the Peace.

Florida

Title X. Public Officers and Employees. Chapter 112. General Provisions. Part III. Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees

112.311  Legislative intent and declaration of policy.--

(1)  It is essential to the proper conduct and operation of government that public officials be independent and impartial and that public office not be used for private gain other than the remuneration provided by law. The public interest, therefore, requires that the law protect against any conflict of interest and establish standards for the conduct of elected officials and government employees in situations where conflicts may exist…

(5)  It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state that no officer or employee of a state agency or of a county, city, or other political subdivision of the state, and no member of the Legislature or legislative employee, shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect; engage in any business transaction or professional activity; or incur any obligation of any nature which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties in the public interest. To implement this policy and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of the state in their government, there is enacted a code of ethics setting forth standards of conduct required of state, county, and city officers and employees, and of officers and employees of other political subdivisions of the state, in the performance of their official duties. It is the intent of the Legislature that this code shall serve not only as a guide for the official conduct of public servants in this state, but also as a basis for discipline of those who violate the provisions of this part.

(6)  It is declared to be the policy of the state that public officers and employees, state and local, are agents of the people and hold their positions for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State Constitution and to perform efficiently and faithfully their duties under the laws of the federal, state, and local governments. Such officers and employees are bound to observe, in their official acts, the highest standards of ethics consistent with this code and the advisory opinions rendered with respect hereto regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that promoting the public interest and maintaining the respect of the people in their government must be of foremost concern.

Georgia

O.C.G.A. § 45-10-20 (TITLE 45. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES CHAPTER 10. CODES OF ETHICS AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST  ARTICLE 2. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, PART 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS)

(9) "Public official" means any person elected to a state office and means any person appointed to a state office where in the conduct of such office the person so appointed has administrative and discretionary authority to receive and expend public funds and to perform certain functions concerning the public which are assigned to him by law.

O.C.G.A. § 21-5-3 (TITLE 21. ELECTIONS, CHAPTER 5. ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT, ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.)

Definitions.

(22) "Public officer" means:
(A) Every constitutional officer;
(B) Every elected state official;
(C) The executive head of every state department or agency, whether elected or appointed;
(D) Each member of the General Assembly;
(E) The executive director of each state board, commission, council, or authority and the members thereof;
(F) Every elected county official and every elected member of a local board of education; and
(G) Every elected municipal official.

Hawaii

HRS § 710-1000

(15) "Public servant" means any officer or employee of any branch of government, whether elected, appointed, or otherwise employed, and any person participating as advisor, consultant, or otherwise, in performing a governmental function, but the term does not include jurors or witnesses;

Idaho

Idaho Code § 59-703

(10) "Public official" means any person holding public office in the following capacity:

      (a) As an elected public official meaning any person holding public office of a governmental entity by virtue of an elected process, including persons appointed to a vacant elected office of a governmental entity, excluding members of the judiciary; or

      (b) As an elected legislative public official meaning any person holding public office as a legislator; or

      (c) As an appointed public official meaning any person holding public office of a governmental entity by virtue of formal appointment as required by law; or

      (d) As an employed public official meaning any person holding public office of a governmental entity by virtue of employment, or a person employed by a governmental entity on a consultive basis.

Illinois

25 ILCS 170/2

(For purposes of lobbying)

(c) "Official" means:

(1) the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Comptroller;

(2) Chiefs of Staff for officials described in item (1);

(3) Cabinet members of any elected constitutional officer, including Directors, Assistant Directors and Chief Legal Counsel or General Counsel;

(4) Members of the General Assembly

5 ILCS 430/1‑5
(Illinois does not define "public official" or "public officer" in the state Ethics Act, but the following definitions are used.)

 Definitions. As used in this Act:
    "Employee" means (i) any person employed full‑time, part‑time, or pursuant to a contract and whose employment duties are subject to the direction and control of an employer with regard to the material details of how the work is to be performed or (ii) any appointed or elected commissioner, trustee, director, or board member of a board of a State agency, including any retirement system or investment board subject to the Illinois Pension Code or (iii) any other appointee.
    "Executive branch constitutional officer" means the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer.
    “Governmental entity" means a unit of local government (including a community college district) or a school district but not a State agency.
    "Legislative branch constitutional officer" means a member of the General Assembly and the Auditor General.
    "Legislative leader" means the President and Minority Leader of the Senate and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
    "Member" means a member of the General Assembly.
    "Officer" means an executive branch constitutional officer or a legislative branch constitutional officer.

"State agency" includes all officers, boards, commissions and agencies created by the Constitution, whether in the executive or legislative branch; all officers, departments, boards, commissions, agencies, institutions, authorities, public institutions of higher learning as defined in Section 2 of the Higher Education Cooperation Act (except community colleges), and bodies politic and corporate of the State; and administrative units or corporate outgrowths of the State government which are created by or pursuant to statute, other than units of local government (including community college districts) and their officers, school districts, and boards of election commissioners; and all administrative units and corporate outgrowths of the above and as may be created by executive order of the Governor. "State agency" includes the General Assembly, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the President and Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the Senate Operations Commission, and the legislative support services agencies. "State agency" includes the Office of the Auditor General. "State agency" does not include the judicial branch.
    "State employee" means any employee of a State agency.
    "Ultimate jurisdictional authority" means the following:
        (1) For members, legislative partisan staff, and legislative secretaries, the appropriate legislative leader: President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, or Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.

(2) For State employees who are professional staff or employees of the Senate and not covered under item (1), the Senate Operations Commission.

(3) For State employees who are professional staff or employees of the House of Representatives and not covered under item (1), the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(4) For State employees who are employees of the legislative support services agencies, the Joint Committee on Legislative Support Services.

(5) For State employees of the Auditor General, the Auditor General.

(6) For State employees of public institutions of higher learning as defined in Section 2 of the Higher Education Cooperation Act (except community colleges), the board of trustees of the appropriate public institution of higher learning.

7) For State employees of an executive branch constitutional officer other than those described in paragraph (6), the appropriate executive branch constitutional officer. (8) For State employees not under the jurisdiction of paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), or (7), the Governor.

720 ILCS 5/12-9

(From the criminal code, sec 12-9, "Threatening Public Officials.")

(b) For purposes of this Section:

(1) "Public official" means a person who is elected to office in accordance with a statute or who is appointed to an office which is established, and the qualifications and duties of which are prescribed, by statute, to discharge a public duty for the State or any of its political subdivisions or in the case of an elective office any person who has filed the required documents for nomination or election to such office. "Public official" includes a duly appointed assistant State's Attorney and a sworn law enforcement or peace officer.

Indiana

Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-1-14

"Public official" means an individual who holds office in the executive, judicial, or legislative branch of the state or federal government or a political subdivision of either of those governments and includes an official or employee of a state educational institution.

Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-1-8

Legislative person (for purposes of lobbying and financial disclosure laws) means any of the following:

  1. A member
  2. A candidate
  3. An officer of the general assembly
  4. An employee of the legislative department of state government
  5. A member of the immediate family of anyone described in subdivision (1), (2), (3) or (4). A lobbyist who is a close relative of a legislative person is not considered a legislative person.
  6. A paid consultant of the general assembly.
  7. An official of an agency of the legislative department of state government. 
     

Iowa

Iowa Code § 68B.2

15.  "Local official" means an officeholder of a political subdivision of this state.

16.  "Member of the general assembly" means an individual duly elected to the senate or the house of representatives of the state of Iowa.

17.  "Official" means all statewide elected officials, the executive or administrative head or heads of an agency of state government, the deputy executive or administrative head or heads of an agency of state government, members of boards or commissions as defined under section 7E.4, and heads of the major subunits of departments or independent state agencies whose positions involve a substantial exercise of administrative discretion or the expenditure of public funds as defined under rules of the board adopted in consultation with the department or agency and pursuant to chapter 17A. "Official" does not include officers or employees of political subdivisions of the state, members of the general assembly, legislative employees, officers or employees of the judicial branch of government who are not members or employees of the office of attorney general, members of state government entities which are or exercise the same type of authority that is exercised by councils or committees as defined under section 7E.4, or members of any agricultural commodity promotional board, if the board is subject to a producer referendum.

22.  "Public official" means officials, local officials, and members of the general assembly.

Kansas

K.S.A. § 60-1205

Grounds for forfeiture of public office.

Every person holding any office of trust or profit, under and by virtue of any of the laws of the state of Kansas, either state, district, county, township or city office, except those subject to removal from office only by impeachment, who shall (1) willfully engage in misconduct while in office, (2) willfully neglect to perform any duty enjoined upon such person by law, (3) demonstrate mental impairment such that the person lacks the capacity to manage the office held, or (4) who shall commit any act constituting a violation of any penal statute involving moral turpitude, shall forfeit such person's office and shall be ousted from such office in the manner hereinafter provided.

K.S.A. § 46-220. (State Governmental Ethics)

"Legislator" defined. "Legislator" means a member or member-elect of the legislature.

K.S.A. § 46-221(State Governmental Ethics)

State officer or employee, candidate and state officer elect defined. (a) "State officer or employee" means (1) any individual who is an elected or appointed state officer, (2) any individual who is in the classified service or unclassified service of the Kansas civil service act, (3) all officers and employees of the legislative branch and of the governor's office, irrespective of how compensated or period of employment, and (4) any individual who receives monthly or semimonthly compensation for services from the state or any state agency. State officer or employee does not include any justice or commissioner of the supreme court or judge of the judicial branch or employee or officer of the judicial branch or any member of a board, council or commission who is appointed by the supreme court or who is elected or appointed to exercise duties pertaining to functions of the judicial branch, when such person is engaged in performing a function or duty for the judicial branch. Also, state officer or employee does not include any appointed member of an advisory council, commission or board, who serves without compensation other than amounts for expense allowances or reimbursement of expenses as provided for in subsection (e) of K.S.A. 75-3223 and amendments thereto, when such member is engaged in performing a function or duty for such council, commission or board.

Kentucky

KRS § 83A.010 (Organization of government in cities)

Definitions for chapter.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(10) "Officer" means any person elected to a position by the voters or any person appointed to a position which (a) is created by the Constitution, the General Assembly, or a city; (b) possesses a delegation of a portion of the sovereign power of government; (c) has powers and duties to be discharged which are conferred directly or by implication by the city; (d) has duties performed independently and without control of a superior power other than law; (e) has some permanency; (f) requires an official oath; (g) is assigned by a commission or other written authority; and (h) provides for an official bond if required by proper authority.

KRS § 6.611 (Legislative ethics)

(25) “Legislator” means a member or member-elect of the general assembly;

Louisiana

La. R.S. § 14:122.2

Threatening a public official; penalties; definitions

C. For the purpose of this Section, "public official" is defined as any executive, ministerial, administrative, judicial, or legislative officer of the state of Louisiana.

La. R.S. § 42:1102 (Code of Governmental ethics)

(2)(a)  "Agency" means a department, office, division, agency, commission, board, committee, or other organizational unit of a governmental entity.  For purposes of this Chapter, "agency of the public servant" and "his agency" when used in reference to the agency of a public servant shall mean:

(iv)  For public servants in the legislative branch of state government, it shall mean the agency or house of the legislature by which a public employee is employed and the legislative branch in the case of legislators.

(18) (a)  "Public employee" means anyone, whether compensated or not, who is:

(i)  An administrative officer or official of a governmental entity who is not filling an elective office.

(ii)  Appointed by any elected official when acting in an official capacity, and the appointment is to a post or position wherein the appointee is to serve the governmental entity or an agency thereof, either as a member of an agency, or as an employee thereof.

(iii)  Engaged in the performance of a governmental function.

(iv)  Under the supervision or authority of an elected official or another employee of the governmental entity.

(b)  However, "public employee" shall not mean a person whose public service is limited to the following:

(i)  Periodic duty in the National Guard pursuant to 32 U.S.C. 502.

(ii)  A contract to provide attest services as a certified public accountant.

(c)  A public employee shall be in such status on days on which he performs no services as well as days on which he performs services.  The termination of any particular term of employment of a public employee shall take effect on the day the termination is clearly evidenced.

(19)  "Public servant" means a public employee or an elected official.

Maine

21-A M.R.S. § 1

34. PUBLIC OFFICIAL. "Public official" means a person elected or appointed to serve the people.

Maine’s ethics laws (Chapter 25, Subchapter 2) for the legislature specify the term “legislator” throughout.

Maryland

Md. STATE GOVERNMENT Code Ann. § 15-103

Designation of individuals as public officials

   (a) Generally. -- The determination of whether an individual is a "public official" for the purposes of this title shall be made in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(b) Public officials of executive units. -- Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, the following individuals in executive units are public officials:

   (1) an individual who receives compensation at a rate equivalent to at least State grade level 16, or who is appointed to a board, if the Ethics Commission determines under § 15-208 of this title that:

      (i) the individual, acting alone or as a member of an executive unit, has decision making authority or acts as a principal advisor to one with that authority:

         1. in making State policy in an executive unit; or

         2. in exercising quasi-judicial, regulatory, licensing, inspecting, or auditing functions; and

      (ii) the individual's duties are not essentially administrative and ministerial;

   (2) any other individual in an executive unit, if the Ethics Commission determines that the individual, acting alone or as a member of the executive unit, has decision making authority or acts as a principal advisor to one with that authority in drafting specifications for, negotiating, or executing contracts that commit the State or an executive unit to spend more than $ 10,000 in a year;

   (3) a member, appointee, or employee of the Maryland Stadium Authority;

   (4) a member, appointee, or employee of the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority; and

   (5) a member of the Emergency Medical Services Board.

(c) Public officials of the Legislative Branch. -- Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, an individual in the Legislative Branch is a public official if the individual:

   (1) receives compensation at a rate equivalent to at least State grade level 16; and

   (2) is designated a public official by order of the presiding officers of the General Assembly.

(d) Public officials of the Judicial Branch. --

   (1) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection or in subsection (f) of this section, an individual in the Judicial Branch is a public official if the individual receives compensation at a rate equivalent to at least State grade level 16.

   (2) For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, "individual in the Judicial Branch" includes an individual who is:

      (i) employed in the office of a clerk of court;

      (ii) paid by a county to perform services in an orphans' court or circuit court;

      (iii) employed by the Attorney Grievance Commission;

      (iv) employed by the State Board of Law Examiners; or

      (v) employed by the Court of Appeals Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.

   (3) The Ethics Commission may exclude the individuals in a position in the Judicial Branch from inclusion as public officials under paragraph (1) of this subsection:

      (i) upon the recommendation of the State Court Administrator; and

      (ii) if the Ethics Commission determines that the position does not have policy, policy advice, quasi-judicial, or procurement functions.

(e) Bicounty commission members. -- A member of a bicounty commission is a public official.

(f) Exceptions. -- The following are not public officials:

   (1) a State official;

   (2) an individual employed on a contractual basis unless the individual is:

      (i) employed on a full-time basis for more than 6 months; and

      (ii) designated pursuant to subsection (b) (1) or (c) of this section; and

   (3) a part-time or full-time faculty member at a State institution of higher education:

      (i) as to subsection (b) (2) of this section, only when the individual is acting in the capacity of a faculty member; and

      (ii) as to any other provision of this section, unless the individual also:

         1. is employed in another position that causes the individual to be designated as a public official; or

         2. directly procures, directly influences, or otherwise directly affects the formation or execution of any State contract, purchase, or sale, as established by regulations adopted by the Ethics Commission and approved by the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review.

Maryland State Government Code Ann. § 15-102

(ll)   “State official” means:

(1)   a constitutional officer or officer–elect in an executive unit;

(2)   a member or member–elect of the General Assembly;

(3)   a judge or judge–elect of a court under Article IV, § 1 of the Constitution;

(4)   a judicial appointee as defined in Maryland Rule 16–814;

(5)   a State’s Attorney;

(6)   a clerk of the circuit court;

(7)   a register of wills; or

(8)   a sheriff.

Massachusetts

ALM GL ch. 268A. § 1 (conduct of public officers and employees)

(p) “State agency”, any department of state government including the executive, legislative or judicial, and all councils thereof and thereunder, and any division, board, bureau, commission, institution, tribunal or other instrumentality within such department, and any independent state authority, district, commission, instrumentality or agency, but not an agency of a county, city or town.

(q) “State employee”, a person performing services for or holding an office, position, employment, or membership in a state agency, whether by election, appointment, contract of hire or engagement, whether serving with or without compensation, on a full, regular, part-time, intermittent or consultant basis, including members of the general court and executive council. No construction contractor nor any of their personnel shall be deemed to be a state employee or special state employee under the provisions of paragraph (o) or this paragraph as a result of participation in the engineering and environmental analysis for major construction projects either as a consultant or part of a consultant group for the commonwealth. Such contractors or personnel may be awarded construction contracts by the commonwealth and may continue with outstanding construction contracts with the commonwealth during the period of such participation; provided, that no such contractor or personnel shall directly or indirectly bid on or be awarded a contract for any construction project if they have participated in the engineering or environmental analysis thereof. 

ALM GL ch. 268B, § 1 (financial disclosure and gift laws)

(p) "public office" means any position for which one is nominated at a state primary or chosen at a state election, excluding the positions of Senator and Representative in congress and the office of regional district school committee member elected district-wide;

(q) "public official" means anyone who holds a public office, as defined by clause (p) of this section;

ALM GL ch. 50, § 1 (elections)

"State officer" shall apply to, and include, any person to be nominated at a state primary or chosen at a state election and shall include United States senator and representative in Congress.

Michigan

 

MCLS § 4.416

(2) "Public official" means an official in the executive or legislative branch of state government.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 10A.01

Subd. 35. Public official.

"Public official" means any:

(1) member of the legislature;

(2) individual employed by the legislature as secretary of the senate, legislative auditor, chief clerk of the house, revisor of statutes, or researcher, legislative analyst, or attorney in the Office of Senate Counsel and Research or House Research;

(3) constitutional officer in the executive branch and the officer's chief administrative deputy;

(4) solicitor general or deputy, assistant, or special assistant attorney general;

(5) commissioner, deputy commissioner, or assistant commissioner of any state department or agency as listed in section 15.01 or 15.06, or the state chief information officer;

(6) member, chief administrative officer, or deputy chief administrative officer of a state board or commission that has either the power to adopt, amend, or repeal rules under chapter 14, or the power to adjudicate contested cases or appeals under chapter 14;

(7) individual employed in the executive branch who is authorized to adopt, amend, or repeal rules under chapter 14 or adjudicate contested cases under chapter 14;

(8) executive director of the State Board of Investment;

(9) deputy of any official listed in clauses (7) and (8);

(10) judge of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals;

(11) administrative law judge or compensation judge in the State Office of Administrative Hearings or referee in the Department of Employment and Economic Development;

(12) member, regional administrator, division director, general counsel, or operations manager of the Metropolitan Council;

(13) member or chief administrator of a metropolitan agency;

(14) director of the Division of Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement in the Department of Public Safety;

(15) member or executive director of the Higher Education Facilities Authority;

(16) member of the board of directors or president of Minnesota Technology, Inc.;

(17) member of the board of directors or executive director of the Minnesota State High School League;

(18) member of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority established in section 473.755;

(19) citizen member of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources;

(20) manager of a watershed district, or member of a watershed management organization as defined under section 103B.205, subdivision 13; or

(21) supervisor of a soil and water conservation district;

(22) director of Explore Minnesota Tourism; or

(23) citizen member of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council established in section 97A.056.

(24) citizen member of the Clean Water Council established in section 114D.30;

(25) member or chief executive of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority established in section 473J.07;

(26) district court judge, appeals court judge, or Supreme Court justice;

(27) county commissioner; or

(28) member of the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 5-8-3 

(q) "Public official" means an individual elected to a state or local office, or an individual who is appointed to fill a vacancy in the office.

Missouri

§ 105.470 R.S.Mo. (public officers and employees)

(6) "Decision-making public servant", an official, appointee or employee of the offices or entities delineated in paragraphs (a) through (h) of this subdivision who exercises supervisory authority over the negotiation of contracts, or has the legal authority to adopt or vote on the adoption of rules and regulations with the force of law or exercises primary supervisory responsibility over purchasing decisions. The following officials or entities shall be responsible for designating a decision-making public servant:

(a) The governing body of the political subdivision with a general operating budget in excess of one million dollars;

(b) A department director;

(c) A judge vested with judicial power by article V of the Constitution of the state of Missouri;

(d) Any commission empowered by interstate compact;

(e) A statewide elected official;

(f) The speaker of the house of representatives;

(g) The president pro tem of the senate;

(h) The president or chancellor of a state institution of higher education; 

(8) "Public official", any member or member-elect of the general assembly, judge or judicial officer, or any other person holding an elective office of state government or any agency head, department director or division director of state government or any member of any state board or commission and any designated decision-making public servant designated by persons described in this subdivision.

105.300 R.S.Mo

(2) "Employee", elective or appointive officers and employees of the state, including members of the general assembly, and elective or appointive officers and employees of any political subdivision of the state, including county officers remunerated wholly by fees from sources other than county funds, or any instrumentality of either the state or such political subdivisions; and employees of a group of two or more political subdivisions of the state organized to perform common functions or services;

Montana

Mont. Code Anno., § 5-7-102 (TITLE 5. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. CHAPTER 7. LOBBYING . Part 1. General Provisions – Licenses).

(7) "Elected state official" means an individual holding a state office filled by a statewide vote of all the electors of Montana or a state district office, including but not limited to public service commissioners and district court judges. The term includes an individual appointed to fill the unexpired term of an elected state official and an individual who has been elected to a statewide office but who has not yet been sworn in.

(B) THE TERM DOES NOT INCLUDE A LEGISLATOR.

(16) "Public official" means an elected state official or an appointed state official acting in an official capacity for state government OR A LEGISLATOR.

(B)The term does not include those acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity or performing ministerial acts.

Mont. Code Anno., § 2-2-102 (TITLE 2. GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE AND  ADMINISTRATION. CHAPTER 2. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT. Part 1 code of ethics.)

(8) (a) "Public officer" includes any state officer and any elected officer of a local government.

(b) For the purposes of 67-11-104, the term also includes a commissioner of an airport authority.

(10) (a) "State agency" includes:
(i) the state;
(ii) the legislature and its committees;
(iii) all executive departments, boards, commissions, committees, bureaus, and offices;
(iv) the university system; and
(v) all independent commissions and other establishments of the state government.
(b) The term does not include the judicial branch.

(11) "State officer" includes all elected officers and directors of the executive branch of state government as defined in 2-15-102.

Nebraska

R. R. S. Neb. § 49-1437. (Official in the legislative branch, defined.)

Official in the legislative branch shall mean a member or member-elect of the Legislature, a member of an official body established by and responsible to the Legislature, or employee thereof other than an individual employed by the state in a clerical or nonpolicymaking capacity.

R.R.S. Neb. § 49-1443 (Law)

Public official, defined

Public official shall mean an official in the executive branch, an official in the legislative branch, or an elected or appointed official in the judicial branch of the state government or a political subdivision thereof; any elected or appointed member of a school board; and an elected or appointed member of a governing body of a state institution of higher education.

Nevada

NRS § 281.005  (Public Officers and Employees)

As used in this chapter:

1. Except as limited for the purposes of NRS 281.411 to 281.581, inclusive, "public officer" means a person elected or appointed to a position which:

(a) Is established by the constitution or a statute of this State, or by a charter or ordinance of a political subdivision of this State; and

(b) Involves the continuous exercise, as part of the regular and permanent administration of the government, of a public power, trust or duty.

NRS § 281A.160 (Ethics in Government, General Provisions.)
“Public officer” defined.

1.“Public officer” means a person elected or appointed to a position which:

(a) Is established by the Constitution of the State of Nevada, a statute of this State or a charter or ordinance of any county, city or other political subdivision; and

(b) Involves the exercise of a public power, trust or duty. As used in this section, “the exercise of a public power, trust or duty” means:

(1) Actions taken in an official capacity which involve a substantial and material exercise of administrative discretion in the formulation of public policy;

(2) The expenditure of public money; and

(3) The administration of laws and rules of the State or any county, city or other political subdivision.

2.  “Public officer” does not include:
(a) Any justice, judge or other officer of the court system;

(b) Any member of a board, commission or other body whose function is advisory;

(c) Any member of a special district whose official duties do not include the formulation of a budget for the district or the authorization of the expenditure of the district’s money; or

 (d) A county health officer appointed pursuant to NRS 439.290.

3.“Public office” does not include an office held by:

(a) Any justice, judge or other officer of the court system;

(b) Any member of a board, commission or other body whose function is advisory;

(c) Any member of a special district whose official duties do not include the formulation of a budget for the district or the authorization of the expenditure of the district’s money; or

(d) A county health officer appointed pursuant to NRS 439.290.

NRS § 281A.165

“State Legislator” or “Legislator” means a member of the Senate or Assembly of the State of Nevada.

NRS § 218H. (State Legislative Department. Lobbying)
“Member of the Legislative Branch” means any Legislator, any member of the Legislator’s staff or any assistant, employee or other person employed with reference to the legislative duties of the Legislator.

New Hampshire


RSA 15-B:2 (The State and Its Government. Gifts, Honorariums, and Expense Reimbursements.)

III. "Elected official'' means the governor, members of the executive council, members of the general court, county commissioners, county sheriffs, county treasurers, county attorneys, registers of deeds, and registers of probate. 

X. "Public official" means a commissioned, unclassified, or nonclassified executive branch employee, but shall not include any commissioned, unclassified, or nonclassified employee elected by the legislature.

 New Jersey

N.J. Stat. § 52:13D-13 (State government, departments and officers, definitions.)

(b) "State officer or employee" means any person, other than a special State officer or employee (1) holding an office or employment in a State agency, excluding an interstate agency, other than a member of the Legislature or (2) appointed as a New Jersey member to an interstate agency.

As used in this act, and unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

a.   "State agency" means any of the principal departments in the Executive Branch of the State Government, and any division, board, bureau, office, commission or other instrumentality within or created by such department, the Legislature of the State and any office, board, bureau or commission within or created by the Legislative Branch, and, to the extent consistent with law, any interstate agency to which New Jersey is a party and any independent State authority, commission, instrumentality or agency. A county or municipality shall not be deemed an agency or instrumentality of the State.

b.   "State officer or employee" means any person, other than a special State officer or employee (1) holding an office or employment in a State agency, excluding an interstate agency, other than a member of the Legislature or (2) appointed as a New Jersey member to an interstate agency.

c.   "Member of the Legislature" means any person elected to serve in the General Assembly or the Senate.

d.   "Head of a State agency" means (1) in the case of the Executive Branch of government, except with respect to interstate agencies, the department head or, if the agency is not assigned to a department, the Governor, and (2) in the case of the Legislative Branch, the chief presiding officer of each House of the Legislature.

e.   "Special State officer or employee" means (1) any person holding an office or employment in a State agency, excluding an interstate agency, for which office or employment no compensation is authorized or provided by law, or no compensation other than a sum in reimbursement of expenses, whether payable per diem or per annum, is authorized or provided by law; (2) any person, not a member of the Legislature, holding a part-time elective or appointive office or employment in a State agency, excluding an interstate agency, or (3) any person appointed as a New Jersey member to an interstate agency the duties of which membership are not full-time.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-19-26 

P. "public official" means a person elected to an office in an election covered by the Campaign Reporting Act [1-19-25 to 1-19-36 NMSA] or a person appointed to an office that is subject to an election covered by that act;

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-8-3 

As used in the Per Diem and Mileage Act [10-8-1 to 10-8-8 NMSA 1978]:

G. "public officer" or "public official" means every elected or appointed officer of the state, local public body or any public post-secondary educational institution. Public officer includes members of advisory boards appointed by any state agency, local public body or public post-secondary educational institution.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 13-1-191.1  Campaign contribution disclosure and prohibition

A. This section applies to prospective contractors with the state or a local public body.

(1) "applicable public official" means a person elected to an office or a person appointed to complete a term of an elected office, who has the authority to award or influence the award of the contract for which the prospective contractor is submitting a competitive sealed proposal or who has the authority to negotiate a sole source or small purchase contract that may be awarded without submission of a sealed competitive proposal;

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16-2 (public officers and employees, Governmental Conduct Act)

"public officer or employee" means any elected or appointed official or employee of a state agency or local government agency who receives compensation in the form of salary or is eligible for per diem or mileage but excludes legislators; 

Note: “Legislator” is not defined, but is included in aspects of the Governmental Conduct Act.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16B-2 (public officers and employees, Gift act)

E.   "state officer or employee" means any person who has been elected to, appointed to or hired for any state office and who receives compensation in the form of salary or is eligible for per diem or mileage.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16A-2 (public officers and employees, financial disclosure act)

F.   "public officer or employee" means any person who has been elected to, appointed to or hired for any state office and who receives compensation in the form of salary or is eligible for per diem or mileage, but excludes legislators and judges.   

Note: “Legislator” is not defined, but is included in financial disclosure requirements.

New York

 

NY CLS Legis § 1-c (Lobbying Act)

Definitions

(l) The term "public official" shall mean:

      (i) the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller or attorney general;

      (ii) members of the state legislature;

      (iii) state officers and employees including:

         (A) heads of state departments and their deputies and assistants other than members of the board of regents of the university of the state of New York who receive no compensation or are compensated on a per diem basis,

         (B) officers and employees of statewide elected officials,

         (C) officers and employees of state departments, boards, bureaus, divisions, commissions, councils or other state agencies [fig 1] ,

         (D) members or directors of public authorities, other than multi-state authorities, public benefit corporations and commissions at least one of whose members is appointed by the governor, [fig 1] and employees of such authorities, corporations and commissions;

      (iv) officers and employees of the legislature; and

      (v) municipal officers and employees including an officer or employee of a [fig 1] municipality, whether paid or unpaid, including members of any administrative board, commission or other agency thereof and in the case of a county, shall be deemed to also include any officer or employee paid from county funds. No person shall be deemed to be a municipal officer or employee solely by reason of being a volunteer fireman or civil defense volunteer, except a fire chief or assistant fire chief.

(Public Officers Law)

§ 2. Definitions. The term "state officer" includes every officer for whom all the electors of the state are entitled to vote, members of  the  legislature, justices of the supreme court, regents of the university, and every officer, appointed by one or more state officers,  or  by  the   legislature, and authorized to exercise his official functions throughout the entire state, or without limitation  to any political subdivision of the state, except United States senators, members of congress, and electors for resident and vice-president of the United States.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-555 (State Departments, Institutions and Commissions)

Definitions

(3) "Public office" means appointive membership on any State Commission, council, committee, board, including occupational licensing boards as defined in G.S. 93B-1, board of trustees, including boards of constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina and boards of community colleges under Chapter 115D of the General Statutes, and any other State agency created by law; provided that "public office" does not include an office for which a regular salary is paid to the holder as an employee of the State or of one of its departments, agencies, or institutions.

(4) "Public official" means any person who is a member of any public office as defined by this Part.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 138A-3 (State Government Ethics Act and Lobbying Act)

(10) Covered person. - A legislator, public servant, or judicial officer, as identified by the Commission under G.S. 138A-11.

(22). Legislator. - A member or presiding officer of the General Assembly, or an individual elected or appointed a member or presiding officer of the General Assembly before taking office.

(30) Public servants. - All of the following:

a. Constitutional officers of the State and individuals elected or appointed as constitutional officers of the State prior to taking office.

b. Employees of the Office of the Governor.

c. Heads of all principal State departments, as set forth in G.S. 143B-6, who are appointed by the Governor.

d. The chief deputy and chief administrative assistant of each individual designated under sub-subdivision a. or c. of this subdivision.

e. Confidential assistants and secretaries as defined in G.S. 126-5(c)(2), to individuals designated under sub-subdivision a., c., or d. of this subdivision.

f. Employees in exempt positions designated in accordance with G.S. 126-5(d)(1), (2), or (2a) and confidential secretaries to these individuals.

g. Any other employees or appointees in the principal State departments as may be designated by the Governor to the extent that the designation does not conflict with the State Personnel Act.

h. Judicial employees.

i. All voting members of boards, including ex officio members, permanent designees of any voting member, and members serving by executive, legislative, or judicial branch appointment.

j. For The University of North Carolina, the voting members of the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina, the president, the vice-presidents, and the chancellors, the vice-chancellors, and voting members of the boards of trustees of the constituent institutions.

k. For the Community College System, the voting members of the State Board of Community Colleges, the President and the chief financial officer of the Community College System, the president, chief financial officer, and chief administrative officer of each community college, and voting members of the boards of trustees of each community college.

l. Members of the Commission, the executive director, and the assistant executive director of the Commission.

m. Individuals under contract with the State working in or against a position included under this subdivision.

n. The director of the Office of State Personnel.

o. The State Controller.

p. The chief information officer, deputy chief information officers, chief financial officers, and general counsel of the Office of Information Technology Services.

q. The director of the State Museum of Art.

r. The executive director of the Agency for Public Telecommunications.

s. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

t. The Commissioner of Banks and the chief deputy commissioners of the Banking Commission.

u. The executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

v. The executive director, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.

(30k)    State agency. - An agency in the executive branch of the government of this State, including the Governor's Office, a board, a department, a division, and any other unit of government in the executive branch.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code, § 26.1-21-01

State Bonding Fund Definitions.

6. "Public official" means an elected or appointed officer or deputy of a state agency or a political subdivision, except for an officer of an occupational and professional board or commission under title 43 or of the state bar association.

N.D. Cent. Code, § 32-03-47 

Definitions - Voluntary engineering services - Immunity.

e. "Public official" means any federal, state, or locally elected official with overall executive responsibility in the jurisdiction in which the emergency or event has occurred.

Ohio

ORC Ann. 102.01 (public officers – ethics)

(B) "Public official or employee" means any person who is elected or appointed to an office or is an employee of any public agency. "Public official or employee" does not include a person elected or appointed to the office of precinct, ward, or district committee member under section 3517.03 of the Revised Code, any presidential elector, or any delegate to a national convention. "Public official or employee" does not include a person who is a teacher, instructor, professor, or other kind of educator whose position does not involve the performance of, or authority to perform, administrative or supervisory functions.

(C) "Public agency" means the general assembly, all courts, any department, division, institution, board, commission, authority, bureau or other instrumentality of the state, a county, city, village, or township, the five state retirement systems, or any other governmental entity. "Public agency" does not include a department, division, institution, board, commission, authority, or other instrumentality of the state or a county, municipal corporation, township, or other governmental entity that functions exclusively for cultural, educational, historical, humanitarian, advisory, or research purposes; that does not expend more than ten thousand dollars per calendar year, excluding salaries and wages of employees; and whose members are uncompensated. "Public agency" does not include the nonprofit corporation formed under section 187.01 of the Revised Code. 

ORC ANN. 2921.01 (offenses against justice and public administration)

Definitions

As used in sections 2921.01 to 2921.45 of the Revised Code:

(A) "Public official" means any elected or appointed officer, or employee, or agent of the state or any political subdivision, whether in a temporary or permanent capacity, and includes, but is not limited to, legislators, judges, and law enforcement officers.

Oklahoma

51 Okl. St. § 304 (officers)

Definitions

24. "Public employee" means any person who is employed by and receives compensation from any governmental entity, but shall not mean independent contractors or public officials;

25. "Public official" means an elected or appointed official in the executive or legislative branch of a political subdivision of the state;

257:1-1-2 (ethics commission, administrative operations)

"State employee"

(1) means:

(A) an elective or appointed officer or an employee of any governmental entity, except members of the House of Representatives or State Senate; and

(B) an employee, other than an adjunct professor, in the service of an institution of higher education comprising the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.

(2) does not mean a public member. 

"State office" means all elective offices for which declarations of candidacy are filed with the Secretary of the State Election Board.

"State officer" means an elective, appointed or employed officer, including a public member, in the executive, judicial or legislative branch of the State of Oklahoma.

Oregon

ORS § 244.020 (TITLE 22.  PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. CHAPTER 244.  GOVERNMENT STANDARDS AND PRACTICES GENERAL PROVISIONS)

Definitions

(13) “Public office” has the meaning given that term in ORS 260.005.

(14) "Public official" means any person who, when an alleged violation of this chapter occurs, is serving the State of Oregon or any of its political subdivisions or any other public body as defined in ORS 174.109 of the state as an officer, employee, agent or otherwise, and irrespective of whether the person is compensated for such services.

ORS § 171.725 (TITLE 17. STATE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT AND LAWS. CHAPTER 171. STATE LEGISLATURE. LOBBYING REGULATION.)

Definitions

(3) “Executive agency” means a commission, board, agency or other body in the executive branch of state government that is not part of the legislative or judicial branch.

(4) “Executive official” means any member or member-elect of an executive agency and any member of the staff or an employee of an executive agency. A member of a state board or commission, other than a member who is employed in full-time public service, is not an executive official for purposes of ORS 171.725 to 171.785.

(7) “Legislative official” means any member or member-elect of the Legislative Assembly, any member of an agency, board or committee that is part of the legislative branch, and any staff person, assistant or employee thereof.

(10) “Public agency” means a commission, board, agency or other governmental body.

(11) "Public official" means any member or member-elect of any public agency and any member of the staff or an employee of the public agency. 

ORS § 174.109 (CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES; DEFINITIONS. STATE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT AND LAWS.) 

“Public body” defined. Subject to ORS 174.108, as used in the statutes of this state “public body” means state government bodies, local government bodies and special government bodies.

Pennsylvania

65 Pa.C.S. § 1102

Definitions

"Public official." Any person elected by the public or elected or appointed by a governmental body or an appointed official in the executive, legislative or judicial branch of this Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, provided that it shall not include members of advisory boards that have no authority to expend public funds other than reimbursement for personal expense or to otherwise exercise the power of the State or any political subdivision thereof.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-10.1-2 (Public Employee Pension Revocation and Reduction Act )

Definitions

(b) "Public official" or "public employee" shall mean any current or former state or municipal elected official as defined in section 36-14-2(10), state or municipal appointed official as defined in section 36-14-2(4), and any employee of state or local government, of boards, commissions or agencies as defined in section 36-14-2(8)(i), (ii), who is otherwise entitled to receive or who is receiving retirement benefits under this title, under title 16, under title 45, under title 8, under chapter 30 of title 28, under chapter 43 of title 31, or under chapter 28 of title 42, whether that person is acting on a permanent or temporary basis and whether or not compensated on a full-time or part-time basis. For the purposes of this chapter, all these persons are deemed to be engaged in public employment.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-2 (Public officers and employees, code of ethics)

(4) "Employees of state and local government, of boards, commissions and agencies" means any full time or part time employees in the classified, nonclassified and unclassified service of the state or of any city or town within the state, any individuals serving in any appointed state or municipal position, and any employees of any public or quasi-public state or municipal board, commission, or corporation;

(8) "State agency" means any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, or quasi-public authority within Rhode Island, either branch of the Rhode Island general assembly, or an agency or committee thereof, the judiciary, or any other agency that is in any branch of Rhode Island state government and which exercises governmental functions other than in an advisory nature;

(9) "State or municipal appointed official" means any officer or member of a state or municipal agency as defined herein who is appointed for a term of office specified by the constitution or a statute of this state or a charter or ordinance of any city or town or who is appointed by or through the governing body or highest official of state or municipal government;

(10) "State or municipal elected official" means any person holding any elective public office pursuant to a general or special election;

R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-4  Persons subject to the code of ethics.

The following persons shall be subject to the provisions of the Rhode Island code of ethics in government:

(1) State and municipal elected officials;

(2) State and municipal appointed officials; and

(3) Employees of state and local government, boards, commissions, and agencies.

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 8-13-100

Definitions

(26) "Public member" means an individual appointed to a noncompensated part-time position on a board, commission, or council. A public member does not lose this status by receiving reimbursement of expenses or a per diem payment for services. 

(27) "Public official" means an elected or appointed official of the State, a county, a municipality, or a political subdivision thereof, including candidates for the office. "Public official" does not mean a member of the judiciary except that for the purposes of campaign practices, campaign disclosure, and disclosure of economic interests, a probate judge is considered a public official and must meet the requirements of this chapter.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws § 3-1-10 

Definitions

The terms "office," "officer," "executive," and "administrative," when used in § 3-1-8 or 3-1-9 mean and apply to any executive or administrative officer of the state; to any county, municipality, township, or school district; and to any district, board, bureau, commission, department, or other body or office, exercising executive or administrative powers as part of the government, or any arm of the government, of the state. The terms "executive" and "administrative" apply interchangeably to any or all of said offices.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-10-116 (Title 2  Elections. Chapter 10  Campaign Finances. Part 1 - Financial Disclosure.)

Honorarium defined - Acceptance of honorarium by public official.

(c) As used in this section, "public official" means:

(1) Each person holding any state public office filled by the voters;

(2) Each person holding any local public office filled by the voters;

(3) Each member of the governor's cabinet; and

(4) Each cabinet level staff person employed within the governor's office.

Title 8  Public Officers And Employees
Chapter 4  Comptroller of the Treasury
Part 5 - Local Government Instances of Fraud Reporting Act

Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-4-502  (Public Officers and Employees. Chapter 4. Comptroller of the Treasury. Part 5. Local Government Instances of Fraud Reporting Act.)

Part definitions. As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:

(2) "Public official" means a person elected or appointed to any office of a public entity;

Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301 (Title 3  Legislature, Chapter 6  Ethics and Lobbying, Part 3. Lobbyists.)

(20) "Official in the executive branch" means the governor, any member of the governor's staff, any member or employee of a state regulatory commission, including, without limitation, directors of the Tennessee regulatory authority, or any member or employee of any executive department or agency or other state body in the executive branch. "Official in the executive branch" also includes any administrative governmental official or employee of any county exercising the authority set forth in § 8-17-103(b);

(21) "Official in the legislative branch" means any member, member-elect, any staff person or employee of the general assembly or any member of a commission established by and responsible to the general assembly or either house of the general assembly who takes legislative action. "Official in the legislative branch" also includes the secretary of state, treasurer, and comptroller of the treasury and any employee of those offices. "Official in the legislative branch" also includes any legislative governmental official or employee of any county exercising the authority set forth in § 8-17-103(b);

Texas

Tex. Gov't Code § 572.002 (GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 5. OPEN GOVERNMENT; ETHICS, SUBTITLE B. ETHICS, CHAPTER 572. PERSONAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, STANDARDS OF CONDUCT, AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST)

General Definitions

(1) "Appointed officer" means:

   (A) the secretary of state;

   (B) an individual appointed with the advice and consent of the senate to the governing board of a state-supported institution of higher education;

   (C) an officer of a state agency who is appointed for a term of office specified by the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state, excluding an appointee to a vacated elective office; or

   (D) an individual who is a member of the governing board or commission of a state agency, who is not appointed, and who is not otherwise:

      (i) an elected officer;

      (ii) an officer described by Paragraphs (A) through (C); or

      (iii) an executive head of a state agency.

(4) "Elected officer" means:

   (A) a member of the legislature;

   (B) an executive or judicial officer elected in a statewide election;

   (C) a judge of a court of appeals or of a district court;

   (D) a member of the State Board of Education;

   (E) a district attorney or criminal district attorney; or

   (F) an individual appointed to fill a vacancy in an office or appointed to a newly created office who, if elected to       the office instead of appointed, would be an elected officer under this subdivision.

(11) "State employee" means an individual, other than a state officer, who is employed by:

(A) a state agency;

(B) the Supreme Court of Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, a court of appeals, or the Texas Judicial Council; or

(C) either house of the legislature or a legislative agency, council, or committee, including the Legislative Budget Board, the Texas Legislative Council, the State Auditor's Office, and the Legislative Reference Library.

(12) "State officer" means an elected officer, an appointed officer, a salaried appointed officer, an appointed officer of a major state agency, or the executive head of a state agency.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 36-11-102 (GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 5. OPEN GOVERNMENT; ETHICS, SUBTITLE B. ETHICS, CHAPTER 572. PERSONAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, STANDARDS OF CONDUCT, AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST)

Definitions

(15) "Public official" means:

(a) (i) a member of the Legislature;
(ii) an individual elected to a position in the executive branch of state government; or
(iii) an individual appointed to or employed in a position in the executive or legislative branch of state government if that individual:

(A) occupies a policymaking position or makes purchasing or contracting decisions;

(B) drafts legislation or makes rules;

(C) determines rates or fees; or 

(D) makes adjudicative decisions; or

(b) an immediate family member of a person described in Subsection (15)(a).

Utah Code Ann. § 67-16-3 (state officers and employees, public officers’ and employees’ ethics act)

(10) "Legislator" means a member or member-elect of either house of the Legislature of the state of Utah.

(13) "Public officer" means all elected or appointed officers of the state or any of its political subdivisions who occupy policymaking posts. "Public officer" does not include legislators or legislative employees. 

Vermont

2 V.S.A. § 261 (Title 2. Legislature, Chapter 11: REGISTRATION OF LOBBYISTS)

Definitions

(7) "Legislator" means any member or member-elect of the general assembly.

(11) "State officer" means the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer and auditor of accounts.

Virgina

Va. Code Ann. § 42.1-77 (Libraries. Virginia public records act)

Definitions

"Public official" means all persons holding any office created by the Constitution of Virginia or by any act of the General Assembly, the Governor and all other officers of the executive branch of the state government, and all other officers, heads, presidents or chairmen of boards, commissions, departments, and agencies of the state government or its political subdivisions.

Va. Code Ann. § 30-101. Definitions. (General Assembly Conflict of Interest Act)

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Legislator" means a member of the General Assembly.

Washington

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.17.005 (TITLE 42.  PUBLIC OFFICERS AND AGENCIES CHAPTER 42.17.  DISCLOSURE -- CAMPAIGN FINANCES -- LOBBYING)

Definitions

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

(41) "Public office" means any federal, state, judicial, county, city, town, school district, port district, special district, or other state political subdivision elective office.

(44) "State office" means state legislative office or the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, commissioner of public lands, insurance commissioner, superintendent of public instruction, state auditor, or state treasurer.

(45) "State official" means a person who holds a state office.

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.52.010 (TITLE 42. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND AGENCIES, CHAPTER 42.52. ETHICS IN PUBLIC SERVICE)

Definitions

(18) "State officer" means every person holding a position of public trust in or under an executive, legislative, or judicial office of the state. "State officer" includes judges of the superior court, judges of the court of appeals, justices of the supreme court, members of the legislature together with the secretary of the senate and the chief clerk of the house of representatives, holders of elective offices in the executive branch of state government, chief executive officers of state agencies, members of boards, commissions, or committees with authority over one or more state agencies or institutions, and employees of the state who are engaged in supervisory, policy-making, or policy-enforcing work. For the purposes of this chapter, "state officer" also includes any person exercising or undertaking to exercise the powers or functions of a state officer.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 6B-1-3 (CHAPTER 6B. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES; ETHICS; CONFLICTS OF INTEREST; FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.)

Definitions.

(k) "Public official" means any person who is elected or appointed to any state, county or municipal office or position and who is responsible for the making of policy or takes official action which is either ministerial or nonministerial, or both, with respect to: (1) Contracting for, or procurement of, goods or services; (2) administering or monitoring grants or subsidies; (3) planning or zoning; (4) inspecting, licensing, regulating or auditing any person; or (5) any other activity where the official action has an economic impact of greater than a de minimis nature on the interest or interests of any person.

W. Va. Code § 6B-3-1 (CHAPTER 6B. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES; ETHICS; CONFLICTS OF INTEREST; FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.
ARTICLE 3. LOBBYISTS.)

West Virigina also includes a definition of "government officer or employee" in its lobbying law.

(4) "Government officer or employee" means a member of the Legislature, a legislative employee, the governor and other members of the board of public works, heads of executive departments, and any other public officer or public employee under the legislative or executive branch of state government who is empowered or authorized to make policy and perform non-ministerial functions. In the case of elected offices included herein, the term "government officer or employee" shall include candidates who have been elected but who have not yet assumed office.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 19.42  (CODE OF ETHICS FOR PUBLIC, OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES.)

Definitions

(7x) "Local public official" means an individual holding a local public office.

(13) "State public office" means:

   (a) All positions to which individuals are regularly appointed by the governor, except the position of trustee of any private higher educational institution receiving state appropriations and the position of member of the district board of a local professional baseball park district created under subch. III of ch. 229 and the position of member of the district board of a local cultural arts district created under subch. V of ch. 229.

   (b) The positions of associate and assistant vice presidents of the University of Wisconsin System and vice chancellors identified in s. 20.923 (5)

   (c) All positions identified under s. 20.923 (2), (4), (4g), (6) (f) to (h), (7), and (8) to (10), except clerical positions. (Legislators are identified in 20.923 (2)(b) ).

   (e) The chief clerk and sergeant at arms of each house of the legislature or a full-time, permanent employee occupying the position of auditor for the legislative audit bureau.

   (f) A member of a technical college district board or district director of a technical college, or any position designated as assistant, associate or deputy district director of a technical college.

   (g) The members and employees of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, except clerical employees.

   (h) A municipal judge.

   (i) A member or the executive director of the judicial commission.

   (j) A division administrator of an office created under ch. 14 or a department or independent agency created or continued under ch. 15.

   (k) The executive director, executive assistant to the executive director, internal auditor, chief investment officer, chief financial officer, chief legal counsel, chief risk officer and investment directors of the investment board.

   (l) The members and employees of the World Dairy Center Authority.

   (m) The chief executive officer and members of the board of directors of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority.

   (n) The chief executive officer and members of the board of directors of the Fox River Navigational System Authority.

  (o) The executive director and members of the board of directors of the Wisconsin Quality Home Care Authority.

(14) "State public official" means any individual holding a state public office.

Wis. Stat. § 13.62. (Legislative Branch, REGULATION OF LOBBYING.)

(6) "Elective state official" means any person who holds an elective state office as defined in s. 5.02 (23) (include legislators) or has been elected to an elective state office but has not yet taken office. A person who is appointed to fill a vacant elective state office is an elective state official.
(11p)  "Partisan elective state office" means the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, state senator or state representative to the assembly.
(11r) "Partisan elective state official" means any individual holding a partisan elective state office.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 9-13-102 (TITLE 9 - ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT, CHAPTER 13 - GOVERNMENT ETHICS, ARTICLE 1 PUBLIC OFFICIALS, MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES ETHICS.) 

Definitions.

(xiv) "Public official" means an individual elected to a state or local office, or an individual who is appointed to fill a vacancy in a state or local office, whether or not the individual has yet assumed the office;

Guam

4 GCA § 13102 

Definitions for Purposes of This Act.

(a) The term official means any person elected to any public office in Guam and any person appointed, with legislative concurrence or by the Guam Legislature, to any public office, to include, but not limited to:

(1) all elected officials;

(2) officials appointed by I Maga'lahi whose appointment is subject to the consent of I Liheslaturan Guåhan, except ex-officio and student members of Boards and Commissions in their capacity as members of such Boards and Commissions; and

(3) the chief executive officers, by whatever title they may be known, of all agencies and instrumentalities of the government of Guam whether or not confirmed by I Liheslaturan Guåhan is required.

(4) all individuals who are given or delegated authority by an elected official or appointed official to have sole authority to enter into contracts for procurement or approved change order. Exempt are classified employees who do administrative processing but do not have discretion on awards.

Puerto Rico

3 L.P.R.A. § 1802 

Definitions

For purposes of this chapter, the words or phrases enumerated herein shall have the meaning indicated below, unless another meaning can be clearly derived from the context:

(a) Public official. Includes those persons filling offices or are employed in the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico who are vested with part of the sovereignty of the Commonwealth, therefore, they intervene in the formulation and implementation of the public policy.

U.S. Virgin Islands

 

5 V.I.C. § 931 

Definitions

As used in section 932 of this title and its exceptions and in the following sections,

(4) "Public official" of a State, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States includes an official of a political subdivision of such State, territory, commonwealth, or possession, and of a municipality.

 

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