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Table of Legislative Ethics Committees

 

State Ethics Committees

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Updated July 2012

State legislatures pass ethics laws that impose restrictions on themselves and lobbyists.  To ensure these laws are kept, legislatures establish oversight entities that include ethics committees, ethics commissions or a combination of both.  Internal ethics committees are an important way for legislatures to solidify their credibility with the public.

Forty states have some semblance of a legislative ethics committee. These committees may hear complaints of ethics violations by legislators, investigate the complaint and impose a penalty.  Duties vary among the state committees.  Eighteen states have standing ethics committees in one or both chambers, which mean they operate with the same status as a committee that deals with public policy issues like education or transportation.  In 10 states or chambers, the legislature has the power to create an ad hoc committee.  These committees only meet if there has been a violation of an ethics law or rule or if a complaint filed by another member or member of the public. 

Another approach is for a joint legislative ethics committee.  Ten states have a joint committee.  In addition, thirty-six states have ethics commissions with some jurisdiction over legislators.

For more information please also see the March 2008 LegisBrief: Ethics Committees: Internal Oversight of Ethics Laws.

AL | AK | AZ | AR | CA | CO | CT | 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 | DC | PR | VI

 

State

Details

Alabama

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Ethics and Conduct Committee

TYPE:
Standing Senate Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Five members of the Senate. Elected by full Senate from names of five senators submitted by each senator.

Of the five members, one shall be elected from the Senate Minority Caucus and one from the Senate Black Caucus.

Chair and vice chair elected by committee.

TERM:
Four Years

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Consider and, when necessary, act upon complaints of misconduct brought against an individual senator during his or her participation in a session of the Senate or his or her participation in a standing or interim committee.

For the purposes of this Rule, misconduct means any of the following:

(1) Any conduct constituting a legal wrong that materially impairs the ability of the member to perform the duties of his or her office or substantially impairs public confidence in the Legislature.
(2) Any conduct by a Senator which intentionally violates any Senate Rule in the conduct of Senate business, whether official or unofficial business.
(3) Any conduct by a Senator which, during his or her term of office, sexually harasses any other person of either sex including but not limited to Senate Pages. For purposes of this resolution, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when a.) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, b.) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or c.) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the committee will look at the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. The determination of the legality of a particular action will be made from the facts, on a case by case basis.
(4) Any conduct by a Senator which violates any provision of the State Ethics Law, Chapter 25 of Title 36 of the Code of Alabama 1975.
(5) Any conduct prohibited by the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.
(6) The intentional filing of a false complaint with the committee or the filing of a complaint in reckless disregard of the truth.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 48 (22)

NOTES:
No House Committee or procedures for creating ad hoc committee.
The Alabama State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and local officials.

Alaska

 

JOINT COMMITTEE:
Select Committee on Legislative Ethics


TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Nine members: two senators, two representatives and five public members.

Leadership of the majority and minority in the House and Senate each choose two members. They also choose an alternate member for each regular member who serves when there is a conflict.

Two-thirds of full membership of each house must concur with the appointments.

The public members, who serve a three-year term, are selected by the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court and ratified by two-thirds of the full members of the legislature.

Committee is chaired by a public member.

Committee is divided into a House subcommittee and a Senate subcommittee for the purpose of considering most complaints.  The five public members serve on both subcommittees along with two legislators from the chamber.

TERM:
Two years

Three years, public members

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Membership includes public members.

Committee is divided into a House subcommittee and a Senate subcommittee to consider most complaints.

The members of each subcommittee shall elect a chair and a vice-chair, who serve a term of two years. Neither a chair nor a vice-chair may be a member of the legislature. An officer may not hold the same office for more than two consecutive terms. The vice-chair shall act as chair in the absence of the chair. The chair selected by the Senate subcommittee shall chair the full committee beginning the first day of the regular session in odd-numbered years and the chair selected by the House subcommittee shall chair the full committee beginning the first day of the regular session in even-numbered years.

The full committee considers advisory opinions and issues the opinion.

If after further investigation, each chamber's subcommittee determines that there is an additional violation, formal charges can be brought.  Following a hearing, any recommendations made by the committee requires a majority vote by each respective house for application.

 

RULE / STATUTE:
Alaska Stat. 24.60.130

NOTE:
The Alaska Public Officers Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists. The Commission can investigate ethics matters that relate to legislators, but matters must be adjudicated by the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.

Arizona

 

SENATE or HOUSE COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committees.

TYPE:
Senate: Special Committee
House: Special Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
An ethics committee is established in the Senate and in the House, each consisting of five members.

The president of the Senate and the speaker of the House appoint members to the ethics committee of their respective chambers.  Not more than three members of each committee may be from the same political party.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Duties of ethics committees include:
• Propose and adopt a code of ethics and conflict of interest requirements as part of rules during the first regular legislative session;
• Issue advisory opinions interpreting the code of ethics, conflict of interest and financial disclosure requirements;
• Investigate complaints and charges against members.

The chair of the Senate or House ethics committee, after evaluating the complaint, can choose to proceed with an investigation or to dismiss the charges.  If the investigation proceeds, it is to a formal hearing.  Following the hearing, the committee can render advisory opinions and make rules and/or recommendations regarding legislative ethics.  If at any stage the committee finds evidence of a possible criminal violation, the matter is referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

RULE / STATUTE:
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 38-519

Arkansas

 

SENATE or HOUSE COMMITTEE:
No ethics committee.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
A senator who believes an ethics violation has been committed may petition the full Senate to meet publicly to conduct an investigation.  The petition must be signed by a majority of the members (Senate Rule 24.08). Hearing procedures are outlined in Senate Rule 24.09.

No comparable House Rule.

Arkansas Ethics Commission handles all complaints against legislators.

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
The Arkansas Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists.

California

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate committee on legislative ethics is appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules.

Senate: six members, with at least two members from each of the two political parties having the greatest number of members in the Senate.  The chair and vice-chair may not be from the same political party.

The President Pro Tempore and the Minority Floor Leader shall serve as ex officio, nonvoting members of the committee.

TERM:
Two years

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Both chamber committees have similar duties.

The individual chamber committees on legislative ethics have jurisdiction over that chamber's members and its employees.

In both chambers, following a preliminary review to determine if an alleged violation meets ethic rules standards, decisions are made internally, or proceedings can move to a public hearing. Typically, matters are handled internally. California Government Code 86103 requires lobbyists to attend an ethics course as a condition of registration. The Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics and the Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee jointly conduct the ethics courses for lobbyists.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 12.3; Joint Rule 45

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE:
Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Consists of six members appointed by the Speaker, three from each of the two political parties having the greatest number of members in the Assembly.

TERM:
Two years

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee is required by § 8956 of the Government Code to conduct an orientation course biannually on statutes and regulations governing official conduct and to conduct an annual orientation course on relevant ethical issues and laws related to lobbying.

RULE / STATUTE:
Assembly Rule 22.5; Joint Rule 45

NOTE:

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and local officials.

Colorado

 

JOINT COMMITTEE:
Board of Ethics for the General Assembly

TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Four members, two from each chamber; one each appointed by the majority and minority in each chamber.

TERM:
Appointments expire on the first day of the newest legislative session; new appointments are required to be made "as soon as practicable" after the convening date.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Issue advisory opinions upon request relating to member conduct and provisions of the ethics code.

RULE / STATUTE:
24-18-113

SENATE or HOUSE COMMITTEE:
Ad Hoc

TYPE:
Senate: Ad Hoc
House: Ad Hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate: five to seven members.

House: five to seven members.

Party representation of both chamber's committee shall be in proportion to the relative number of members of the two major political parties.

The President and Speaker appoint the majority party members from among the chairmen of committees of reference. 

Minority members are appointed by the minority leaders from members of both chambers that are senior in service and experience.

The President and the Speaker appoint the chair and vice chair.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Complaints must be filed in writing and are confidential. The President or Speaker consults with the majority and minority leaders. If two of the three leaders conclude the complaint is not meritorious, it is dismissed and remains confidential. If the complaint is not dismissed, a committee on ethics is appointed. Senate and House rules outline procedures for investigation and hearings. If found guilty, the committee recommends to the full chamber reprimand, censure or expulsion. 

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 43

House Rule 49

NOTE:

The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, executive branch, local officials and lobbyists.

Connecticut

 

SENATE or HOUSE COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committee.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Office of State Ethics handles all ethics oversight for public employees.

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
The Connecticut Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, and lobbyists.

Delaware

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate: six members appointed by the President Pro Tempore.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
No process is stated in the Senate rules.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 19

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
House: five members, three appointed by the Speaker and two appointed by the minority leader at the beginning of each General Assembly.

TERM:
Two years

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Included among the duties for the House committee are to recommend to the full House rules of conduct for members; issue written advisory opinions upon request of any member on any Rule of Legislative Conduct; investigate any alleged violation of Rule of Legislative Conduct; report to appropriate state and federal authorities any substantial evidence of a violation, and maintain records of proceedings and advisory opinions.

The committee undertakes an investigation upon a written complaint.

Suspension or expulsion are the maximum penalties. The committees also can censure, reprimand, fine or impose any other sanction determined by the committee to be appropriate.

The State Public Integrity Commission administers and implements Delaware's ethics law for the executive branch, financial disclosure laws for all three branches, and lobbyists' registration and reporting laws.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 28 and 30

Process is adopted at the beginning of each session in HR 2.

NOTE:
The Delaware State Public Integrity Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, and lobbyists.

Florida

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Rules


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Normal Committee Appointment Process.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Committee on Rules' ethics duties include

(1) Issuing advisory opinions

(2) Upon a determination by the chair, or the President when the complaint is against the Rules Chair, that there are sufficient grounds for review, the complaint shall be referred either to the committee or, at the option of the chair, or the President, to a special master, for a hearing. The committee or special master may adopt rules of procedure for conduct of the proceedings. The committee or special master shall give reasonable notice to the senator who is alleged to have violated the Rules and shall grant the senator an opportunity to be heard. A special master’s report and recommendation is advisory only and shall be made to the chair, or the President, as soon as practicable after the close of the hearing. The committee’s report and recommendation shall be made as soon as practicable.

(3) Separately from any prosecutions or penalties otherwise provided by law, a senator determined to have violated the requirements of the Rule regulating ethics and conduct may be censured, reprimanded, or expelled. Such determination and disciplinary action shall be taken by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate, on recommendation of the Committee on Rules.

(4) The Rules Committee has oversight over legislative lobbyists, per Senate Rule 9. The committee can issue advisory opinions, receive complaints, which can then be forwarded to a "special master" for investigation, and if the findings have merit, the committee refers the findings to the Senate President, who then presents the matter to the full Senate for action on the matter. According to 9.8, certain "legislative lobbying expenditure prohibitions are not part of the Florida Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees. Neither the Florida Commission on Ethics nor the Florida courts have jurisdiction to interpret these internal matters of the Legislature." See the full rule for more details.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 1.41, 1.42, 9

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committee.

TYPE:
Ad Hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Unspecified. Appointed by the Speaker.

TERM:
House panel serves until complaint is dismissed or probable cause is found.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Complaints are filed with the Chair of the Rules & Calendar Committee. If the Council determines the complaint has merit, the Speaker refers the matter to a "special master" or a select committee. Either of these parties can investigate and provide recommendations to the Chair of the Committee. The Rules and Calendar Committee can then hold a hearing and must forward all findings and recommendations to the Speaker. The Speaker than presents both recommendations to the full body for final action. There are many points in the process at which a complaint can be dismissed. The respondent, the Chair of the Committee, the special master, and the select committee all have the authority to agree to a "consent decree," which dissolves the complaiint.

House rules provide the Speaker and House General Counsel with some additional complaint and advisory opinion authority.

The Speaker is authorized to create a committee to deal with the ethical conduct of lobbyists, as needed.

RULE / STATUTE:
HR 17.2, 17.3, 18.2

NOTE:
The Florida Commission on Ethics has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, local officials, and lobbyists.

Georgia

 

SENATE COMMITTEE

Senate Ethics Committee

 

TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:

13 members in 2012, though no specified number or appointment process is found in rule or statute.


TERM:
Not specified.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Per the Senate website, "jurisdiction of the Ethics Committee shall include all legislation addressing the moral and ethical issues relating to governmental individuals and groups."

Complaints can only be filed by Senators and Senate staff. Complaints are sent to the Secretary of the Senate or the President, depending on who the complaint is against, who then forwards the complaint to the Chair of the Ethics Committee. The Committee conducts investigations using counsel or in-house staff and can initiate an investigation. Findings are presented to the Committee, which can dismiss the complaint, settle it, or hold a hearing and depending on the outcome, recommend sanctions. The Administrative Affairs Committee takes final action on the matter.

 

RULE / STATUTE:
Rule 1-4.10

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:

11 members: The Committee on Ethics shall be composed of a chairman who shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House; the Speaker Pro Tempore; the Majority Leader; the Majority Whip; the Majority Caucus Chairman; the Majority Caucus Vice Chairman; the chairman of the Committee on Judiciary; the Minority Leader; the Minority Whip; the Minority Caucus Chairman; and the Minority Caucus Secretary.


TERM:
Not specified.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Per the House website, "this committee is responsible for legislation governing the moral and ethical issues relating to individuals and groups involved in government functions in Georgia. In addition to legislation, they also serve to examine reports of ethics violations of members of the House of Representatives."


The Majority Leader, the Minority Leader, the Majority Whip, and the Minority Whip shall constitute a preliminary inquiry subcommittee for the initial consideration and preliminary investigation of any complaint, unless the complaint calls into question the conduct of one of those members. The committee can hold hearings, further investigate matters, issue advisory opinions, hire counsel or investigators, hold hearings, introduce resolutions to discipline members, and forward matters to law enforcement or the Speaker, Clerk or other legislative entities for further action.

 

RULE / STATUTE:
Rule 164-170

 

JOINT COMMITTEE:
Joint Legislative Ethics Committee
 

TYPE:
Joint Committee

 

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
10 members, four from each house, plus the speaker and president pro tempore as non voting members.

The President Pro Tempore of the Senate appoints two members from the majority party and two members from the minority party.

The Speaker of the House appoints two members from the majority party and two members from the minority party.

The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Speaker shall serve as co chairs. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate presides in odd-numbered years and the Speaker presides in even-numbered years.

 

TERM:
Two years concurrent with the term of office.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Committee is part of the legislative branch.

The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee receives complaints alleging a violation of a member.

 

RULE / STATUTE:
Ga. Code Ann. § 45-10-91

NOTE:
The Georgia State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, and lobbyists.

Hawaii

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
The Senate has no standing committee, though per Senate rules, ethics issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary and Labor Committee

TYPE:
Ad Hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
If needed, the President appoints a Special Committee chaired by the vice-president or such other member that the President selects.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
If a complaint is lodged, the President shall attempt to resolve the matter in an administrative proceeding.  If the matter cannot be resolved administratively, the President may appoint a Special Committee to investigate, hear and report upon the conduct of the member.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 72

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Select Committee on Standards of Conduct

TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
House committee appointed by Speaker.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The House Standards of Conduct Committee has broad authority to hear complaints against members for misconduct, neglect of duty or any sort of ethical lapse in violation of chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, or violation of these Rules. The Committee can conduct inquiries, investigations, issue subpoenas,  hold hearing, dismiss complaints, hold adjudicatory proceedings, issue penalties for minor violations, and make reports and recommendations to the full body.

RULE / STATUTE:
Select Committee has its own set of rules, found at the end of the House Rules.

NOTE:
The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists.

Idaho

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Ad Hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate Committee on Ethics is composed of six members.

The Senate President Pro Tempore appoints a chair and five members, three of whom must be in concurrence of the leader of the party opposite to the President Pro Tem.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Both chamber committees have similar responsibilities and processes:

Committees are constituted when a complaint is received. The committee first conducts a preliminary investigation to determine if probable cause exists that a violation may have occurred. The subject of the complaint may request a hearing before the committee in which the subject is entitled to present evidence, cross examine witnesses, and be represented by council. The committee has the power to take testimony under oath and to issue subpoenas. The committee then makes recommendations to the full House to either dismiss the complaint, or recommends a specific punishment.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 53

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Ad Hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The House Committee on Ethics is composed of seven members.

House Speaker appoints four majority party members and three minority party members. The majority party members are selected from the chairs of committees of reference of the House.

The minority party members are selected, after considering recommendations made by the minority leader, from members of the House who are senior in service and experience.

The Speaker designates the chair and vice chair from among its members.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Both chamber committees have similar responsibilities and processes - see Senate committee process.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 76

Illinois

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committees

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
N/A

RULE / STATUTE:
5 ILCS 430/25-5

 

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committee. Upon petition or resolution the Speaker can create a special investigating committee. Depending on the investigating committee's findings, the Speaker and Minority Leader can then appoint a select committee on discipline.

TYPE:
Ad hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Investigating committee: If the petition is signed by 3 or more members of the House, or if the complaint is passed via resolution, the Speaker shall appoint 3 members of the majority caucus and the Minority Leader shall appoint 3 members of the minority caucus to a special investigating committee. The Speaker appoints a Chair from the committee membership. If the petition is signed by fewer than 3 members of the House, the Speaker shall consult the member named in the petition, and unless that member objects in writing, the Speaker and the Minority Leader shall appoint a special investigating committee. If the complaint surfaces via a resolution to initiative investigatory proceedings, it is referred to the Rules Committee and must pass with 60 votes.

 

If a majority of those appointed determines to prefer charges, it shall file with the Clerk a formal statement of charges and specifications, and shall appoint 2 members of the House, one from the majority caucus and one from the minority caucus, who are not members of the special investigating committee to be managers for the House at the hearing on the charges.
 

Select committee on discipline: When charges are preferred against any member of the House under Rule 93, the Speaker and the Minority Leader shall appoint a committee, to be known as a select committee on discipline, to hear and determine the charges. The select committee shall consist of 12 members of the House, 6 of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker from the majority caucus and 6 of whom shall be appointed by the Minority Leader from the
minority caucus. The Speaker shall appoint a Chairperson of the select committee from among the 12 members. No member who served on the special investigating committee or any sponsor of the initiating resolution may be appointed to the select committee.


TERM:
All appointments to a select committee on discipline shall be completed and the select committee shall convene within 30 days after the filing of charges for which the committee is appointed.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The investigating committee conducts its business in executive session and reports back, with or without charges, to the Clerk.

The committee on discipline holds a hearing and reports on findings and recommendations, including penalties, if appropriate, to the Clerk. The full body takes final action.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 91-97

5 ILCS 430/25-5

NOTE:
The Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission and the Illinois Office of the Legislative Inspector General have jurisdiction over legislators.

Indiana

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The Senate Committee on Ethics is composed of six members, three from the majority and three from the minority parties. Members are appointed by presiding officer and the floor leader of the minority party. The presiding officer designates the chair.

TERM:
Members serve during their term in office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate Committee on Ethics has the power to issue advisory opinions, review complaints, conduct hearings and investigations, and make any necessary recommendations to resolve the issue.

The Committee also must meet and may recommend amendments to the code of ethics for the Senate not later than thirty (30) days after the first session day of each legislative session, pursuant to IC 2-2.1-3-6.

RULE / STATUTE:
Ind. Code Ann. § 2-2.1-3-5 to -7

Senate Rule 90-99

COMMITTEE:
House Ethics committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The House Committee on Ethics is composed of six members, three from the majority and three from the minority parties. Members are appointed by presiding officer and the floor leader of the minority party. The presiding officer designates the chair.


TERM:
Members serve during their term in office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The House Ethics Committee has the power to issue advisory opinions, review complaints, conduct hearings and investigations, and make any necessary recommendations to resolve the issue.

The Committee also must meet and may recommend amendments to the code of ethics for the Senate not later than thirty (30) days after the first session day of each legislative session, pursuant to IC 2-2.1-3-6.



RULE / STATUTE:
Ind. Code Ann. § 2-2.1-3-5 to -7

Part II, House Code of Ethics

NOTE:
The Indiana State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over the executive branch and vendors, and no jurisdiction over legislators.
 

Iowa

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Six members for both the Senate and House ethics committees.
In both chambers, three members appointed by the majority leader in each house, and three members appointed by the minority leader.
The majority leader of each chamber designates the chair and vice chair. The minority leader of each chamber designates the ranking member of each committee.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The ethics committee of each chamber has the following powers, duties, and functions:

  • Prepare a code of ethics at the start of each session;
  • Prepare rules for lobbying the general assembly;
  • Issue advisory opinions;
  • Receive and investigate complaints;
  • Has oversight, along with the Secretary of the Senate or Chief Clerk of the House, of financial disclosure statement;
  • Recommend ethics and lobbying legislation


After a complaint is filed, the committee determines if there is reason to go to hearing.  Following a hearing the complaint can be dismissed or the Committee can recommend the appropriate form of censure or reprimand, or any other appropriate sanction, including suspension or expulsion from membership in the senate, or suspension of lobbying privileges.

RULE / STATUTE:
Iowa Code 68B.31

Senate Code of Ethics

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Same as Senate Committee - see above.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Same as Senate Committee - see above.

RULE / STATUTE:
Iowa Code 68B.31

House Code of Ethics

NOTE:
The Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board has jurisdiction over the executive branch, candidates, and executive branch lobbyists, and has legislators file their financial disclosure statements with the Board, but the Board has no other authority over legislators.

Kansas

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committees.

The Senate Select Committee is established as needed.

TYPE:
Ad Hoc Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The President of the Senate appoints the Senate Select Committee composed of five senators, no more than three from the same political party and none of whom shall have signed the complaint to be considered.

TERM:
Members serve until complaint dismissed or recommendation made to full body.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The three or more senators shall sign and file a written statement of such complaint with the Secretary of the Senate. In such event, the President shall appoint a select committee.

The Senate Select Committee may dismiss the complaint after inquiry or may set the matter for hearing. Upon completing its hearing and deliberations, the select committee may dismiss the complaint or may submit a recommendation to the full Senate for censure or expulsion, and upon receiving such report the Senate may without further hearing or investigation censure or expel the member against whom the complaint was filed. Censure or expulsion of a Senator under this rule shall require a 2/3 majority vote of those members elected (or appointed) and qualified.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 77

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
The House Select Committee is established as needed
.

TYPE:
Ad Hoc Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The Speaker of the House appoints the House Select Committee composed of six members, except if the complaint is filed against the Speaker, the Speaker Pro Tem shall appoint the select committee of six members. A select committee created under this subsection (a) shall be comprised equally of majority and minority party members.

Speaker appoints members with minority leader input on minority parties' members.

TERM:
Members serve until complaint dismissed or recommendation made to full body.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
When any member of the House of Representatives desires to lodge a complaint against any other member of the House of Representatives, requesting that the member be reprimanded, censured or expelled for any misconduct, the complaining member shall file a written statement of such complaint with the chief clerk, and such complaint shall bear the signature of the complaining member.

The House Select Committee may dismiss the complaint after the inquiry or may set the matter for hearing.

Upon completing its hearing the deliberations thereon, the select committee may dismiss the complaint or may make recommendations to the full House of Representatives for reprimand, censure or expulsion.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rules 4901-4903

NOTE:
The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists.

Kentucky

 

SENATE and HOUSE COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committees or procedures for ad hoc committees.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators.

RULE / STATUTE:
Ky. Rev. State. Ann. 6.651

NOTE:
The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, candidates, and lobbyists.
 

Louisiana

 

COMMITTEE:
No standing ethics committees

Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion established as needed.

TYPE:
Ad Hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion is composed of the full Senate - 39 members - except for the subject of the complaint. Senate president serves as chair, the senate president pro tempore is vice chair, and senate secretary is the chief administrative officer.

TERM:
Members serve until complaint dismissed or recommendation made to full body.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The President shall be the chair of the committee and the President Pro Tempore shall be the vice-chair.  The secretary of the senate shall serve as secretary of the committee and take, preserve and certify testimony, verbatim proceedings and minutes of the meetings of the committee. The Secretary shall be the custodian of all its records and documents and shall perform such other duties in connection with its work as are directed by the committee or its chairman or by the Senate.
 

The select committee is hereby specifically and expressly granted the power and authority, with the written approval of the chairman of the committee, to hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, require the production of books and records, and to do all other things necessary to accomplish the purposes of its hearings and deliberations.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 17.2

COMMITTEE:
House Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion established as needed
.

TYPE:
Ad Hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
House Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion is composed of the full House, except for the subject of the complaint. House speaker serves as chair, the Speaker pro tempore is vice chair, and the House clerk is the chief administrative officer.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Unspecified

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 15.2

NOTE:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics handles all violations of the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics and had jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and vendors.

Maine

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Conduct and Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The Senate President appoints five members. At least two each must represent the majority and minority political parties.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Presumably receive and investigate complaints.

RULE / STATUTE:
SR 201 (6)

COMMITTEE:
House Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The House Speaker appoints eight members. Usually the parties are evenly divided, but no provision in rules.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Presumably receive and investigate complaints.

RULE / STATUTE:
HR 201 (1)(J)

NOTE:
The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists. The Commission can investigate ethics matters that relate to legislators, but matters must be adjudicated by the ethics committee.

Maryland

 

JOINT COMMITTEE:
Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
12 regular members plus two non-voting ex-officio members: six from the Senate and six from the House. The Senate President and House Speaker shall be nonvoting ex officio members.

President of the Senate appoints six senators chosen so that each political party is represented in approximately the same proportion as the party is represented in the Senate. Minority party members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the minority leader of the Senate.

Speaker of the House appoints six delegates chosen so that each political party is represented in approximately the same proportion as the party is represented in the House. Minority party members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the minority leader of the House.

The President and Speaker jointly appoint a chair and vice-chair, or each appoints a co-chair of the committee.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
When complaint is filed, the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics makes preliminary assessment.  If proceedings continue, the committee can meet with the member on an informal level for further investigation.  If required, the matter then goes to hearing, testimonies are taken.

The process is confidential.  Maximum penalty is expulsion.  If there is any suggestion of criminal offense, the matter is turned over to the appropriate prosecuting authority.

 

The Committee shall:

  • perform all duties assigned to it by law or by legislative rules;
  • from time to time, recommend to the presiding officers any changes in or amendments to the rules of legislative ethics;
  • on request of a member of the General Assembly, issue an advisory opinion regarding the legislative ethics of an action taken or contemplated to be taken by the member;
  • on its own motion, issue advisory opinions as it deems necessary;
  • at the request of the President or the Speaker, make recommendations concerning matters referred to the Committee;
  • as it deems necessary, issue guidelines and establish procedures for the implementation of the rules of legislative ethics; and
  • maintain public records as the rules require, including financial disclosure statements.

 

The Committee may propose the adoption, amendment, or repeal of rules of legislative ethics.

RULE / STATUTE:
MD Code § 2-703

NOTE:
The Maryland State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, local officials, and lobbyists. The Commission only has authority to handle financial disclosure for legislators, conflicts of interest issues are handled by the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.

 

*In January 2012, the Senate President established the Special Committee on Ethics Reform. The Committee was to conduct a comprehensive review of the State Ethics Law and make recommendations for improving and clarifying its requirements, the transparency of required disclosures, how the complaint process works, and the consequences to violators.The Committee's work led to introduction of legislation during the 2012 session (Senate Bill 920, enacted as Chapter 620, & Senate Bill 948). Further recommendations may be submitted to the Senate prior to the 2013 legislative session.

Massachusetts

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Six members, including two appointed by the minority leader.


TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate and House ethics committees have the power to investigate complaints, take testimony, make recommendations on such matters to the full body on disciplinary actions, and make any necessary recommendations in the form of advisory opinions.

From the Committee's website: "It shall be the duty of the committee on Ethics and Rules to consider all violations of rules and all question of conduct of Senators and employees of the Senate. The committee is also authorized to recommend policy procedures for the Senate and recommend rules changes for matters requiring the expeditious action by the Senate."


RULE / STATUTE:
SR 12, 12A

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee

TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Eleven members, 7-4 party split. Speaker appoints seven members; minority leader appoints four members.

TERM:
Unspecified, though a member appointed to the committee shall not be considered to be a member of the committee subsequent to the declaration of candidacy for any other state or federal elective office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate and House ethics committees have the power to investigate and evaluate complaints and make any necessary recommendations with respect to sanctions; can also make recommendations in the form of advisory opinions.

RULE / STATUTE:
HR 16-17

NOTE:
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction to enforce the conflict of interest and financial disclosure laws for executive branch members, legislators, and candidates for state (but not local) office.

Michigan

 

SENATE and HOUSE COMMITTEE:
No standing committee or procedure for ad hoc committee. The House has a standing committee, the Committee on Oversight, Reform and Ethics, but no jurisdiction information found in rules or statute.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Complaints against senators are referred to the Committee on Government Operations and Reform. The Committee can offer advisory opinions and determine if allegations merit a hearing.

No comparable House rule.

RULE / STATUTE:
SR 1.310-.311

NOTE:
The Michigan State Board of Ethics has jurisdiction over state employees and appointed officials. The Board has no authority over legislators or other elected officials.

Minnesota

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct


TYPE:
Subcommittee of the Rules and Administration Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Four members, 2-2 party split.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Subcommittee has the authority to investigate complaints and must meet within 30 days to make a finding. At the first meeting where the compliant is heard, the subcommittee has the authority to vote to close the meeting to the public. The subcommittee determines whether or not the complaint has probable cause. If the committee finds probable cause, the complaint goes to a public meeting. The subcommittee is required to conduct the necessary fact-finding on the complaint and ultimately reports to the Rules Committee. The subcommittee has the authority to hire special counsel or an investigator and can report on recommendations to the Committee on Rules and Administration for action. Can issue advisory opinions.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 55

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee

TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Four members, 2-2 party split. The Speaker appoints four members: two from the majority and two from the minority, in addition to one alternate from each caucus.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The committee must adopt written procedures, which must include due process requirements, for handling complaints and issuing guidelines. A complaint is presented to Speaker of the House. Speaker reviews the complaint, and if necessary, within seven days forwards it to the chair of the House Ethics Committee. Chair can call a hearing, which is typically open to the public. The committee must act in an investigatory capacity and may make recommendations regarding complaints submitted to the Speaker before adjournment sine die. With the approval of the Speaker, the committee may retain a retired judge or other nonpartisan legal advisor to advise and assist the committee.

Ethics Committee recommendations for disciplinary action must be supported by clear and convincing evidence and must be reported to the House for final disposition.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 6.10

NOTE:
The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists.

Mississippi

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Rules Committee. The Senate also has a 9 member standing committee on Ethics.


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate Rules Committee consists of the President, who is a nonvoting member, the President Pro Tempore, and four senators, each having served at least four years in the Senate, one from each Congressional District of the State as constituted on January 1, 2004, to be selected by the senators from their respective congressional districts by the caucus.

The President Pro Tempore shall serve as chairman of the committee; the vice chairman shall be appointed by the President Pro Tempore from among the senators on the committee.

TERM:
Coterminous with office

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Senate Rules Committee determines the appropriate course of action to handle a violation.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 65 (9)

COMMITTEE:
Committee on Ethics of the House of Representatives


TYPE:
Standing Committee
 
MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
In the House, the Speaker appoints eight members, one from each congressional district and one from each Supreme Court district.

The Speaker appoints from the members a chair, vice-chair and secretary.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The House Ethics Committee receives complaints against legislators. Following a preliminary review the committee can dismiss the case or move on to a formal investigation and hearing. The Committee can also initiate investigations, hire independent counsel, issue advisory opinions and has to follow certain timelines for action. The Committee must file a report for the full House if a majority of the committee has made a finding of unethical or improper conduct.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 63A

NOTE:
The Mississippi Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, and local officials.

Missouri

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Seven members with a 4-3 party split. Senate president pro tem appoints members from majority party.  The minority caucus determines how its members will be appointed to committees (SR 12).

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee receives complaints, which must be filed by another senator in senate resolution form.  Committee determines what if any actions are taken.

Must consider and report upon bills and matters referred to it relating to ethics and the conduct of public officials and employees. It must recommend to the Senate the rules by which investigations and disciplinary proceedings will be conducted.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 28 (14)

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Eight members with a 4-4 party split. The Speaker shall appoint a Committee on Ethics and name the committee's chair. The Minority Floor Leader shall name the committee's vice-chair and minority members. The committee shall have an equal number of members of the majority and minority party.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The House Ethics Committee has similar procedures as the Senate. The Committee on Ethics may consider and report upon complaints referred to it relating to a member of the House involving the commission of a crime, misconduct, willful neglect of duty, corruption in office or other complaints relating to the ethical conduct of a member. The committee is authorized to sit and act at any time or place within the State of Missouri during the recess and adjournment periods of the House, administer oaths, and take testimony, either orally or by sworn written statement. The Committee must adopt rules of procedue and can recommend disciplinary action.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 36

NOTE:
The Missouri Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists.

Montana

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee but meets "on call" of the chair.

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate: four members, 2-2 party split.

The members are appointed by the Committee on Committees and approved by the Senate.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Ethics Committee shall meet only upon the call of the chair after the referral of an issue from the Rules Committee or to consider a request for a determination on conflicts of interest.The Rules Committee shall prepare a written statement of the specific question or issue to be addressed by the Ethics Committee. The issues referred to the Ethics Committee must be related to the actions of a Senator during a legislative session and must deal situations found in the state's conflict of interest statute. If there is a recommendation from the Ethics Committee, the recommendation is made to the Senate.

RULE / STATUTE:
SR 30-10, 30-20, and 30-160

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee, but meets "on call" of the chair.

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Seven members

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Unspecified

RULE / STATUTE:
30-10

NOTE:
The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices has jurisdiction over legislators (unless the complaint involves a legislative act), the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists.

Nebraska

 

COMMITTEE:
No ethics committee.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission administers election and conflict of interest laws for the executive branch, legislators, local officials, candidates, and lobbyists.

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists.

Nevada

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Legislative Committee on Operations & Elections


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate: seven members. The Senate Majority Leader appoints members with no requirements as to party split.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The committees' responsibilities include:
• Hire staff;
• Hear complaints on alleged breaches of ethics and conflicts of interests;
• Issue advisory opinions.

The Committee shall hear complaints on alleged breaches of ethics and conflicts of interest brought by legislators and others, and it may advise legislators on questions of breaches of ethics and conflicts of interest. All proceedings held to consider the character, alleged misconduct, professional competence or physical or mental health of any person by the Committee on matters of ethics or conflicts of interest are confidential.

RULE / STATUTE:
SR 40 & SR 44; Nevada Constitution, Article 4, Section 15

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE:
Assembly Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
House: five members, three legislators with a 2-1 party split, and two public members.

The House speaker appoints two members from the majority party, minority leader appoints one from the minority party, and the committee chooses two public members.  The speaker appoints two alternates, one from each political party.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:

The committees' responsibilities include:
• Hire staff;
• Hear complaints on alleged breaches of ethics and conflicts of interests;
• Issue advisory opinions.

The Committee shall hear complaints on alleged breaches of ethics and conflicts of interest brought by legislators and others, and it may advise legislators on questions of breaches of ethics and conflicts of interest. All proceedings held to consider the character, alleged misconduct, professional competence or physical or mental health of any person by the Committee on matters of ethics or conflicts of interest are confidential.

l unless a legislator:

(a) Against whom a complaint is brought requests a public hearing;
(b) Discloses the opinion of the Committee at any time after his hearing, or,
(c) Discloses the content of an advisory opinion issued to him by the Committee.


RULE / STATUTE:
AR 23; Nevada Constitution, Article 4, Section 15

NOTE:
The Nevada Commission on Ethics has jurisdiction over the executive branch and over legislators only in situations that are unrelated to legislative activity. In all instances pertaining to “legitimate legislative activity,” jurisdiction resides with the house in which the legislator serves.

New Hampshire

 

JOINT COMMITTEE:
Legislative Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Seven members: four legislators and three public members.

Speaker appoints one House member and one public member.  Minority leader appoints one House member.

Senate President appoints one Senate member and one public member.  Senate minority leader appoints one senator.

The four leadership positions jointly appoint one public member.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Develop and administer ethical standards for members, officers, and employees of the New Hampshire General Court; provide advisory opinions and interpretative rulings regarding the standards of conduct contained in the statutes and Guidelines, and investigate complaints alleging improper conduct involving legislators, legislative officers, and legislative employees.

The committee also receives and reviews financial disclosure forms and passes them to the Secretary of State for retention. Legislators are required to file disclosure forms once a year and a conflict of interest is disclosed on that form or on an individual “declaration of intent form.” The committee is authorized to initiate a complaint on anything not filed.

The resolution process is as follows: an initial review, followed by a preliminary investigation, and finally a formal hearing. The committee can recommend expulsion, informal resolution, or reprimand (internal or external).

RULE / STATUTE:
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14-B:2

New Jersey

 

COMMITTEE:
Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards


TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate: four members, 2-2 party split. The Senate President appoints all members.

The House Speaker appoints four members of the General Assembly, no more than two from the same political party.

 

The respective members of the Joint Committee appointed from the Senate and the General Assembly shall constitute a standing committee of each House which shall have and exercise on behalf of each House the same continuing authority with respect to receipt and consideration of allegations, referred to either standing committee by resolution of the House or by the initiative of the members of the Committee, concerning the qualifications of the members of their respective Houses of the Legislature and the conduct or activities of members and employees reflecting upon the good name, integrity and reputation of the Legislature, a House or any member thereof.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:

The Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards (JLCES) has jurisdiction over any state officer or employee, any special state officer or employee in the legislative branch, and members of the General Assembly. The Committee receives financial disclosure statements and receives other disclosure statements from members with respect to conflicts of interest. The Committee can also issue advisory opinions.

The joint committee shall have jurisdiction to initiate, receive, hear and review complaints with respect to allegations concerning the conduct or activities of members of the legislature and employees of the legislative branch. If a legislator or employee is found in violation the Ethics Code, the JLCES makes any necessary recommendations. No confidentiality provisions are specified.


The Legislature is also required to hold annual ethics training and should a legislator fail to attend, it is reported to JLCES.

The Legislative Counsel in the Office of Legislative Services serves as legal advisor to the joint committee.

RULE / STATUTE:
Joint Rule 19; 52:13D-17.2 to -28

NOTE:
The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists. The New Jersey Commission of Investigation has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, and vendors.

New Mexico

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Ad hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Eight designated members: president pro tempore, majority floor leader, majority whip, minority floor leader, minority whip, majority caucus chair, minority caucus chair and one member of the minority party appointed by the senate minority floor leader.

TERM:
Until complaint dismissed or otherwise disposed of.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Duties of the Senate Ethics Committee include:
• Issue advisory opinions;
• Interpret and enforce ethical principles;
• Receive and investigate complaints.

Chair is president pro tempore of the senate.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 9-13-1

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
House Rules and Order of Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Ethics

TYPE:
Ad hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Members selected from the 20-member Committee. Appointment process not specified.

TERM:
Until complaint dismissed or otherwise disposed of.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Duties of the House Rules and Order of Business Committee include:
• Issue advisory opinions;
• Receive and investigate complaints.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 9-13-3.

COMMITTEE:
Interim Legislative Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
16 members, 8-8, chamber split, appointed by the Legislative Council. Each political parties in each chamber shall have equal representation on the committee.

TERM:
Serve during legislative interim.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Interim Legislative Ethics Committee handles ethics complaints against legislators or requests for advisory opinions that arise between sessions. Otherwise, the chamber committees handle the issue. The Committee can issue advisory opinions on the interpretation and enforcement of ethical principles as applied to the legislature; investigate complaints from another member of the legislature or a member of the public alleging misconduct of a legislator; investigate referrals made to the co-chairmen of the New Mexico legislative council from the attorney general, the secretary of state or a district attorney; hire special counsel or independent hearing officers as necessary; and make recommendations to the respective houses by the end of the first full week of the next convened regular session regarding proposed sanctions for ethical misconduct.

Meetings typically only occur when there is a violation.  Following receipt of a complaint, the committee determines how to move forward.

RULE / STATUTE:
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 2-15-7

New York

 

COMMITTEE:

No standing ethics ad hoc committee procedure.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
NA/

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
N/A

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A
NOTE:
The Legislative Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators.
The Joint Committee on Public Ethics has jurisdiction over the executive branch and has no authority over legislators.

North Carolina

 

JOINT COMMITTEE:
Joint Legislative Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Ad hoc

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
12 members, six from the Senate, six from the House.

Senate President Pro Tem appoints six, three each from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders.

House Speaker appoints six, three each from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders.

TERM:

Four years; members may not serve two consecutive full terms

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Duties of the committee include:
• Prepare a list of ethical principles and guidelines that identifies potential conflicts of interest and prohibited behavior;
• Advise each legislative committee of specific danger areas where conflicts of interests may exist;
• Issue advisory opinions;
• Propose rules of legislative ethics and conduct;
• Receive and investigate complaints.

The committee also publishes annual statistics on complaints, per its rules.

RULE / STATUTE:
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 120-99 through -106; Rules of the Legislative Ethics Committee

NOTE:
The North Carolina Board of Ethics has jurisdiction over the executive branch.

North Dakota

 

COMMITTEE:
No standing committee or ad hoc committee process.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
N/A

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
No ethics commission.

Joint rules (JR 1001-1003) contain a legislative ethics policy.

Ohio

 

JOINT COMMITTEE:
Joint Legislative Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
12 members, six each from the two major political parties.

Speaker appoints six members from the House, not more than three from the same political party.

President of the Senate appoints six members from the senate, not more than three from the same political party.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Joint Legislative Ethics Committee has jurisdiction over members of the general assembly and legislative employees, including business regulated by general assembly.  The Committee may recommend legislation relating to ethics, conflicts of interest, and financial disclosure and, upon a vote of a majority of its members, may render advisory opinions with regard to questions concerning these matters for members and employees of and candidates for the General Assembly and for employees of any legislative agency. The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee shall receive, and may initiate, complaints concerning breach of privilege and complaints against members and employees of and candidates for the General Assembly and employees of any legislative agency concerning conduct alleged to be misconduct, a violation of Chapter 102. or section 2921.42 or 2921.43 of the Revised Code, this Code of Ethics, or the House or Senate rules. The Committee can hold hearings and make disciplinary recommendations.  Joint Committee handles lobbying laws and required post-employment filing for former lawmakers who are required to file financial disclosure statements if they become a lobbyist.

Sec. 13 of Legislative Code of Conduct. Available at: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/res.cfm?ID=127_HCR_5

RULE / STATUTE:
Sec. 13 of Legislative Code of Conduct

NOTE:
Ohio Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over the executive branch, and has no authority over legislators.

Oklahoma

 

COMMITTEE:
No standing or ad hoc ethics committee procedure.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
N/A

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, and candidates.

Oregon

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Special Committee on Conduct


TYPE:
Ad hoc committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate committee includes members of each party in equal numbers, with the chair and vice-chair from different parties.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Senate committee handles workplace harassment and conflict of interest issues. Government Standards and Practices Commission handles ethics complaints filed against elected officials and lobbyists.

RULE / STATUTE:
SR 3.33, 18.01 to 18.09

HOUSE COMMITTEE:
None

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
House Speaker appoints members of all committees, and the chairs and vice-chairs thereof, shall be appointed by the Speaker. The Speaker shall appoint majority party and minority party members to all committees, in the same proportion as the number of majority party members and the number of minority party members in the House bear respectively to the total membership of the House.

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
House Rules include provisions for a committee to handle workplace harassment issues. The Committee on Rules is given some jurisdiction over ethics complaints filed by legislators with respect to lobbyists (HR 19.01).

The Government Standards and Practices Commission handles ethics complaints filed against elected officials and lobbyists.

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
The Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists.

Pennsylvania

 

SENATE COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Ethics and Official Conduct


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The Senate president pro tempore appoints six members, 3-3 party split.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate committee is authorized by rules and is exempt from Sunshine law requirements.  Hearings are open, if the person subject to the investigation wishes the matter to be made public.

In the Senate, the Secretary if charged with receiving and conducting preliminary investigations on complaints. The Committee takes up the issue upon the Secretary's recommendation. Both chamber committees receive complaints against members of the House that allege illegal and unethical conduct.  Committee investigates (or an independent third party does so, if the subject of the complaint is a staff member) and makes recommendations.

The Attorney General may bring charges, if necessary.

RULE / STATUTE:
Rules of Ethical Conduct, Section III; SR XXXV

COMMITTEE:
House Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Eight members with the House speaker and the minority leader each appointing four members.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Duties of House Committee:

• Compiles and distributes an ethics handbook;
• Plans and offers ethics education programs;
• Receives and investigates complaints.

The House and Senate committees may meet jointly for issues involving employees or officers of legislative agencies.

RULE / STATUTE:
HR 47

NOTE:
The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and local officials.

Rhode Island

 

COMMITTEE:
No standing committee or procedures to create ad hoc committee. In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee has oversight of "legislation and matters" which affect ethics, per chamber rule 5.1-1.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
N/A

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
The Rhode Island Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and vendors.

South Carolina

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Legislative Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate Ethics Committee has 10 members (per Senate Rule). The members of the ethics committee must be elected by the Senate (per statute, no similar rule). One member must be elected as chairman by a majority of the members of the ethics committee.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate and the House Ethics committees have similar duties.

Every quarter each committee receives a report for verification of violations. It also handles separate complaints against a member.  They can issue fines, dismiss members, and publicly/privately reprimand members.

Generally, both chamber committees have the following duties:

  • Consider and recommend legislation concerning ethics;
  • Receive and investigate complaints and file complaints if necessary;
  • Take testimony and subpoena evidence;
  • Administer or recommend appropriate sanctions;
  • Render advisory opinions with regard to legislative ethics upon the request of any member, officer, or employee of the House;
  • Compile and make available to the House a compilation of the principles set forth in the advisory opinions.
  • Ascertain whether a person has failed to comply with disclosure requirements and promptly notify the person to file the necessary notices and reports.

 

RULE / STATUTE:
S.C. Code Ann. 8-13-510 to -530; Senate Rule 44 and 44.1

COMMITTEE:
House Legislative Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
House Ethics Committee has six members elected by members of the House. One member must be elected as chairman by a majority of the members of the ethics committee.


TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
See Senate Responsibilities and Process section above.

RULE / STATUTE:
S.C. Code Ann. 8-13-510 & HR 4.16

NOTE:
The South Carolina State Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists, and no authority over legislators.

South Dakota

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion


TYPE:
Ad Hoc Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate president appoints nine members with a 5-4 party split.

The Senate president consults with the majority and minority leaders on all appointments except the chair and vice chair, who must be from different political parties.

TERM:
Duration of investigation.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The duties of the Senate committees include:

(1) Conduct all hearings in like manner to any other Senate committee meeting, and only after informing the member who is the subject of the hearing in writing of the date and time of each meeting held for the purpose;
(2) Invite the member who is the subject of the hearing to attend all meetings of the committee in person and to be accompanied by legal counsel, or to be represented at the hearings by legal counsel of the member's choice and at the member's own expense;
(3) Afford the member full opportunity to present the member's position, to present witnesses in support of the member's position, and extend the opportunity to confront and to question witnesses called by the committee;
(4) Advise the member immediately of the date and time of each meeting, in cases where the committee adjourns prior to completing its work and submitting its report to the Senate.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 8-1 et seq.

COMMITTEE:
House Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion

TYPE:
Ad Hoc Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The House speaker appoints nine members with a 5-4 party split.

The speaker consults with the majority and minority leaders on all appointments except the chair and vice chair, who must be from different political parties.

TERM:
Duration of investigation

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The committee can hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, require the production of books and records, and to do all other things necessary to accomplish the purpose of its hearings and deliberations; make disciplinary recommendations to the full House. Also has the power to punish for contempt and to
provide for the prosecution of any person for refusal to testify, false swearing, or perjury before the select committee in accordance with law.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 6-1 et seq.

Tennessee

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Six members with a 3-3 even partisan split. Appointed by Speaker of the Senate.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate committee is responsible for enforcement of the Senate Code of Ethics and recommends modification of the Code of Ethics to the Senate Rules Committee.

The Senate committee duties include; the authority to render, upon request of any senator, advisory opinions as to whether the facts and circumstances of a particular case constitute or will constitute a violation or probable violation of the Code of Ethics for the Senate or of any statute governing senatorial ethics or conduct. The identity of persons involved will be kept in confidence. Committee can receive and consider complaints, initiate an investigation, and can investigate or refer to the ethics commission. Committee can make recommendations for disciplinary action to the full Senate, and can turn information over to the appropriate district attorney general.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rule 85, Article IV, Section 1-4

COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Unspecified, though in 2012 fourteen members are serving on the committee.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The House Ethics Committee has similar responsibilities to the Senate Committee. See Above.

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists.

Texas

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate may establish a committee to investigate legislators’ conduct.


TYPE:
Ad Hoc Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
No procedures specified - ad hoc procedure.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Ad hoc procedure, No procedures specified.

RULE / STATUTE:
Unknown

COMMITTEE:
House General Investigating and Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Five members with the House speaker appointing a maximum of one-half the members, exclusive of the chair and vice-chair; the remainder are determined by seniority. The speaker shall appoint the chair and the vice-chair of the committee.

TERM:
Begins with appointment and ends when the next regular session convenes.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The House committee has all the powers and duties of a general investigating committee and shall operate as the general investigating committee of the House according to the procedures prescribed by Subchapter B, Chapter 301, Government Code, and the rules of the house, as applicable. The committee has jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to the conduct of and ethical standards applicable to state and local government officers and employees.

RULE / STATUTE:
Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. § 301.017, HR 3-15 and 4-2

NOTE:
The Texas Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists.

Utah

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing and Interim Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Eight members with a 4-4 party split. The Senate president appoints the chair and three members; Senate minority leader appoints the co-chair and three members.

TERM:
Two years

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Procedures for the Senate and House ethics committees are the same.

Committees can hear complaints, conduct investigations and conduct hearings. Depending on the outcome, the committee can then make a recommendation to resolve the conflict which is then sent to the legislative body for a vote.

The legislative body can accept, dismiss, or alter the recommendation. If the recommendation is for expulsion it requires a 2/3 vote.

RULE / STATUTE:
Joint Rule 6-2-101

COMMITTEE:
House Ethics Committee


TYPE:
Standing and Interim Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Eight members with a 4-4 party split.  The House speaker appoints the chair and three members; House minority leader appoints the co-chair and three members.

TERM:
Two years

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Procedures for the Senate and House ethics committees are the same - see above.

RULE / STATUTE:
Joint Rule 6-2-101


NOTE:
The Independent Ethics Commission also has similar authority and jurisdiction over legislators.

Vermont

 

COMMITTEE:
No ethics committee or ad hoc procedure.

TYPE:
N/A

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Both houses in Vermont have voluntary conflict of interest laws.  Conflicts of interest are handled by each house separately. 

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

Virginia

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Advisory Panel


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The Senate Ethics Advisory Panel is composed of five members: three of whom shall be former members of the Senate, and two of whom shall be citizens of the Commonwealth who have not previously held such office.  The members are nominated by the Committee on Privileges and Elections of the Senate and confirmed by the Senate.

Each panel shall elect its own chairman.

TERM:
Members appointed for four year terms and for no more than three successive terms.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The Senate and House ethics advisory panels are created by statute (§30-112 and §30-114).

Panels review formal complaints, conduct investigations and can issue advisory opinions on whether or not there is a violation. The panel can recommend disciplinary action, and depending on the findings, can remit the case to the Attorney General or to other legislative committees for further action.

The panel also has the power to organize and preserve statements and reports filed with the Panel for a period of five years from the date of receipt.

Conflicts of interest are reviewed by General Laws Committee.

RULE / STATUTE:
Panels created by Va. Code Ann. §30-112 and §30-114

 

COMMITTEE:
House Advisory Panel


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
The House Ethics Advisory Panel shall be composed of five members: one of whom shall be a retired justice or judge of a court of record, two of whom shall be former members of the House, and two of whom shall be citizens of the Commonwealth, at least one of whom shall not have previously held such office. The members shall be nominated by the Speaker of the House of Delegates and confirmed by the House of Delegates.

Each panel shall elect its own chairman.

TERM:
Members appointed for four year terms, no more than three in succession.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Same as Senate Advisory Panel - see above.

RULE / STATUTE:
Panels created by Va. Code Ann. § 30-112, §30-114 and §30-116

COMMITTEE:
Senate Privileges and Elections Committee

TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Senate Privileges and Elections Committee has 15 members based on the majority-minority ratio in the senate.

Members are elected by the Senate.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The duties of the committee include:

• Consider matters concerning elections; conflicts of interest; elected officeholders; and reprimand, censure, or expulsion of a senator, among other things;
• Review and report in cases involving financial disclosure statements;
• Recommend disciplinary actions where appropriate;
• Determine and report on all matters referred by the Senate Ethics Advisory Panel;
• Conduct hearings upon receiving a referral from the Senate Ethics Advisory Panel or a resolution seeking the reprimand , censure, or expulsion of a member.

RULE / STATUTE:
Senate Rules Art. VI § 18(h) and Art. VIII § 20

COMMITTEE:
House Standards of Conduct Subcommittee (subcommittee of Rules Committee)


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Four, 2-2 party split.

Chair of Rules Committee appoints subcommittee members from among Rules Committee members.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Review members’ statements of economic interests and consider their requests for advisory opinions with respect to the propriety of current or proposed actions.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rules 23 and 24

COMMITTEE:
House Privileges and Elections Committee

TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Not specified

TERM:
Not specified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The committee shall receive and investigate any charges or complaints brought against any member of the House of Delegates in the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities and recommend to the House such action as it may deem appropriate to establish and enforce standards of conduct for members.

RULE / STATUTE:
House Rule 24

Washington

 

COMMITTEE:
Legislative Ethics Board


TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Nine members: four legislators and five citizen members.

Speaker and President of Senate each appointed two members, one from each of their two largest caucuses.

The five citizen members are chosen by the governor, one from a list of three individuals submitted by each of the four legislative caucuses, and one selected by three of the four other citizen members of the board.

TERM:
Legislative members: two-year terms.

Non-legislative members: one five-year term.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
First, the Legislative Ethics Board shall conduct a jurisdiction investigation to determine whether: (1) the board has personal and subject-matter jurisdiction over the complaint; and (2) there is reasonable cause. If the board finds jurisdiction and reasonable cause, then the board shall conduct a public hearing on the complaint. The hearing shall be conducted either by the Board or by an administrative law judge. The hearing is public, but the deliberations are not.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the board or judge shall issue an order stating its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and specifying such enforcement or remedial action as the board finds appropriate.

RULE / STATUTE:
See LEB Rules

NOTES:
The Washington Public Disclosure Commission has jurisdictionjurisdiction over the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists. Legislators file their financial disclosure statements with the Commission, but the Commission has no other authority over legislators - matters are adjudicated by the Board.

West Virginia

 

COMMITTEE:
Joint Commission on Special Investigations


TYPE:
Joint Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Ten members total, five senators with a 3-2 party split, and five delegates with a 3-2 party split.

Senate president appoints senators and House speaker appoints delegates.

TERM:
Coterminous with term of office.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The commission on special investigations shall have the power, duty and responsibility, upon a majority vote of the members appointed, to:

  • Conduct a comprehensive and detailed investigation into the purchasing practices and procedures of the state; 
  • Determine if there is reason to believe that the laws or public policy of the state in connection with purchasing practices and procedures have been violated or are inadequate
  • Determine if any criminal or civil statutes relating to the purchasing practices and procedures in this state are necessary to protect and control the expenditures of money by the state;
  • Investigate or examine any matter involving conflicts of interest, bribery of state officials, malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office by any employee or officer of the state;
  • Conduct comprehensive and detailed investigations to determine if any criminal or civil statutes have been violated at any level of state government;
  • Determine whether to recommend criminal prosecution or civil action for any violation, either criminal or civil, at any level of state government and, if it is determined that action is necessary, to make appropriate recommendation to the attorney general, prosecuting attorney or other authority empowered to act on such recommendation; and
  • Make such written reports to the members of the Legislature between sessions thereof as the commission may deem advisable and on the first day of each regular session of the Legislature make an annual report to the Legislature containing the commission's findings and recommendations including in such report drafts of any proposed legislation which it deems necessary to carry such recommendations into effect.

the commission is also expressly empowered and authorized to:

  • Sit during any recess of the Senate and House of Delegates;
  • Recommend to the judge of any circuit court that a grand jury be convened pursuant to the provisions of section fourteen, article two, chapter fifty-two of this code, to consider any matter which the commission may deem in the public interest and, in support thereof, make available to such court and such grand jury the contents of any reports, files, transcripts of hearings or other evidence pertinent thereto;
  • Employ such legal, technical, investigative, clerical, stenographic, advisory and other personnel as it deems needed and, within the appropriation herein specified, fix reasonable compensation of such persons and firms as may be employed: Provided, That such personnel as the commission may determine shall have the authority to administer oaths and take affidavits and depositions anywhere in the state;
  • Consult and confer with all persons and agencies, public (whether federal, state or local) and private, that have information and data pertinent to an investigation; and all state and local governmental personnel and agencies shall cooperate to the fullest extent with the commission;
  • Call upon any department or agency of state or local government for such services, information and assistance as it may deem advisable; and
  • Refer such matters as are appropriate to the office of the United States attorney and cooperate with such office in the disposition of matters so referred.


RULE / STATUTE:
W. Va. Code Ann. § 4-5-1 and -2

NOTES:
The West Virginia Ethics Commission has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, local officials, and lobbyists.

The Joint Commission on Special Investigations has concurrent jurisdiction with the WV Ethics Commission to conduct investigations regarding conflict of interest issues.

Wisconsin

 

NOTE:
No Senate Committee or procedures for creating ad hoc committee.

COMMITTEE:
Assembly Special Committee on Ethics and Standards of Conduct

TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Six members with a 3-3 party split. Appointed by the speaker.

TERM:
For duration of the hearing or hearings.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
The duties of the committee include:

• Upon the referral of a resolution by the Assembly to reprimand, censure, or expel a member, hold one or more hearings;
• Make a recommendation for action to the Assembly, including a written report.

RULE / STATUTE:
Assembly Rule 21

NOTE:
The State of Wisconsin Ethics Board has jurisdiction over legislators, the executive branch, candidates, and lobbyists.

Wyoming

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Judiciary Committee; House Rules and Procedures Committee
 

TYPE:
Standing Committee


MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
N/A

TERM:
N/A

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
N/A

RULE / STATUTE:
N/A

NOTE:
If legislators have an ethics issue, they contact Legislative Services. If there is clear guidance on the matter from the Ethics and Disclosure Act or previous decision, an answer is given.  If it is not clear under the Ethics Act what the answer is, then the matter is referred to the Attorney General's Office for resolution.

District of Columbia

 

NOTE:
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has authority to enforce conflict of interest laws as they apply to D.C. Councilors.
 

Puerto Rico

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Seven members appointed by the President of the Senate.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Unknown

RULE / STATUTE:
Unknown

NOTE:
No House Committee or procedures for creating ad hoc committee.

U.S. Virgin Islands

 

COMMITTEE:
Senate Committee on Ethics


TYPE:
Standing Committee

MEMBERSHIP/APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
Appointed by the president of the Senate. Membership may vary, no set membership.

TERM:
Unspecified

RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESS:
Whenever an ethics matter comes before the Senate president, the President can appoint an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter. Generally, the ad hoc committee will only have investigative powers and then the matter will be sent before the full Senate to decide the punishment. But, the Senate can pass a resolution to grant the committee power to decide penalty for ethics violators.

RULE / STATUTE:
Legislative Acting Chief Legal Council provided this information.

 

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