Ethics in the News 2021

Mark Quiner 7/29/2021

Ethics in the News is a monthly summary of ethics- and lobbying-related articles published in 2021, 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.




General - Judges shouldn’t hear cases involving their campaign donors. Though some lawmakers are addressing the issue, only a few states have ethics rules that require judges to avoid hearing such cases. View story.

Published in the wake of the recent apartment building collapse in Miami, Florida, the document asks if the tragedy would have ever occurred if engineering ethics were upheld at every link in the supply chain. It also points out that legislative responses are commonly introduced when ethical practices have eroded or failed. View story.

Illinois - The Illinois General Assembly recently passed a major omnibus ethics reform bill. Senate Bill 539 was sent to Governor Pritzker on June 30 and is currently awaiting approval. If approved, the bill would extend the state’s lobbyist registration requirements to the municipal, county, and township levels. View story.

New Mexico - New Mexico voters may be asked whether to have the State Ethics Commission review and set salaries for state legislators. View story.


Illinois - State lawmakers approved ethics reforms earlier this week amid erupting indictments, investigations and convictions of Illinois lawmakers including former Speaker of the Illinois House Mike Madigan and powerful lobbying interests such as Commonwealth Edison.  View story.

Michigan - Pew Research Center recently found that 67% of Americans believe that “most politicians are corrupt,” and 65% said the U.S. political system needs major reform.  View story.


Guam - The Guam Office of Public Accountability completed an audit on elected and appointed officials attending an ethics in government program training required by Public Law 28-76. View story.

Kentucky - As we continue to review legislation passed in the 2021 Regular Session, it is important to note that much of what became law helped to make state government more efficient. ... Charitable Gaming Relief/Executive Branch Ethics — HB 226 temporarily waives the charitable gaming requirement that net receipts for the previous calendar year are required to be at least 40% of adjusted gross receipts. Due to COVID, some facilities were unable to meet this requirement. HB 226 also makes members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission subject to the Executive Branch Ethics Code. View story.


General - What inspires you? A person? A place? An idea? A belief? Inspiration is a deep-rooted passion that motivates us to do something. Should ethics — the act of deciding to do what is right — be a source of inspiration? I think we are reminded daily that it should be. View story.

Guam - Among the bills that made the third reading file during legislative session Friday is Bill 94-36, a measure that would expand ethics training for all government of Guam employees. The bill is sponsored by a majority of lawmakers. View story.

Michigan - Michigan’s lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing to reform a wide range of ethics and transparency rules, deeming it a “top priority” in the next month. View story.

New York - New York’s ethics oversight agency has a top staffer to lead its operations after having gone two years with the position unfilled. And for the first time, that key post at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will not be filled by a former staffer of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. View story.


Federal — When it comes to oversight, transparency, and consistent ethics in government, you can never rest on your laurels. View story.

The Democratic-led House on Wednesday approved HR 1, a sweeping government, ethics and election bill. View story.

As Congress begins debate this week on sweeping voting and ethics legislation, Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing: If signed into law, it would usher in the biggest overhaul of U.S. elections law in at least a generation. View story.

House Democrats have moved sweeping pieces of legislation in recent days that will have significant impacts on the federal workforce, including by boosting paid leave and placing tighter restrictions on employees’ pre- and post-government work. View story.

Illinois - The independent Legislative Inspector General is asking Illinois lawmakers for a budget of nearly $1 million to investigate lawmakers. If investigation costs end up exceeding that, she said she would have to go back to lawmakers for more. View story.