Ethics in the News 2020


ETHICSEthics in the News is a monthly summary of ethics and lobbying-related articles published in 2020, compiled by NCSL's Center for Ethics in Government.

Note: The links to these articles are provided for information purposes only. NCSL does not endorse any views these news stories provide. Links more than two weeks old may no longer be active. If you are interested in reading an article whose link is inactive, please contact the newspaper in which the story was published.


United States - When the Gallup organization surveys Americans each year on which occupations they rate highest for honesty and ethics, the same profession has topped the list for 18 years: nursing. As a registered nurse for more than two decades and a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) for the last dozen years, I am grateful for the trust patients place in us — but I also know that it’s time to modernize the way we view the role nurses play in the healthcare team. View story.

Kentucky - The Kentucky House voted Friday to strengthen the legislative ethics code by adding sexual harassment to the list of violations. View story.

Maine - A Republican member of the state ethics commission has stepped down, leaving the panel with just three of the five members it is authorized to have as Maine heads into the 2020 election cycle. View story.

New Mexico - New Mexico’s new Ethics Commission reported Friday it had received no complaints so far about ethical lapses and potential corruption involving public employees, contractors, lobbyists, and political candidates. View story.

Vermont - Senators moved a step closer Thursday to creating a code of ethics for state officials and lawmakers, but approving that code and giving teeth to an ethics commission created three years ago remain at least a year away. View story.


Illinois - Illinois lawmakers hear more about how to address conflicts of interest in government (testimony from NCSL Nicholas Birdsong). View story.

Illinois legislators say they expect ethics reform to be among the top priorities in the upcoming session after a federal investigation shook up the state in 2019. View story.

Kentucky - The top two leaders of Kentucky’s General Assembly say they’re tired of hearing lies. House Speaker David Osborne and Senate President Robert Stivers are considering a rule change that would require witnesses who testify during legislative committee meetings to be sworn in under oath, possibly subjecting them to perjury charges if they lie. View story.

Maryland - Reports of discrimination in the State House complex were down last year, according to an annual report reviewed by lawmakers on Friday. View story.

New Mexico - New Mexico voters ended decades of debate in 2018 by approving an independent ethics commission to investigate allegations of wrongdoing against state officeholders and others. View story.

In a November 2018 referendum, New Mexicans voted by a more than 75% margin to approve an amendment to the state constitution creating an independent ethics commission. With the advent of the new year, the State Ethics Commission begins its work. View story.

North Dakota - The new director said he will use his background as an attorney and ethics counselor for the National Guard to help the commission create rules and procedures for handling complaints of ethical misconduct. View story.