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SB 692 Conflicts of Interests Acts, State & Local Government & General Assembly, etc.; lobbyist reporting.

Introduced by: Thomas K. Norment, Jr. | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS PASSED: (all summaries)

Lobbyist reporting, the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, and the General Assembly Conflicts of Interests Act; annual filing of required disclosures; definition of gift; separate report of gifts; definition of procurement transaction; technical amendments. Requires the disclosure forms filed by lobbyists and persons subject to the conflict of interests acts to be filed annually. Lobbyists are required to file by July 1 for the preceding 12-month period complete through the last day of April, and persons subject to the conflict of interests acts are required to file on or before January 15. The bill also requires the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General, members of the Governor's Cabinet, and members of the General Assembly to file on or before May 1 a separate report of gifts received during the period beginning January 1 through adjournment sine die of the regular session of the General Assembly. Effective January 1, 2017, the bill removes from the Code the disclosure forms filed by lobbyists and persons subject to the conflict of interests acts and requires the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council (Council) to prescribe the forms to be used to comply with disclosure requirements.

The bill also makes numerous other changes related to lobbyist reporting and the conflict of interests acts, including (i) exempting from the definition of a gift any gift with a value of less than $20; (ii) providing that the filing of a single disclosure form by a person subject to the conflict of interests acts satisfies the filing requirement for all positions or offices held or sought by such person; (iii) clarifying that lobbying disclosure forms are filed with the Council and are open to public inspection and copying in the office of the Council, and not the Secretary of the Commonwealth; (iv) clarifying that candidates for statewide office, the General Assembly, and constitutional office are required to file a statement of economic interests with the Council; (v) authorizing travel provided to facilitate attendance by a legislator at certain meetings where attendance is approved by the Chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Rules in addition to approval by either committee; (vi) clarifying that gifts to certain members of a lobbyist's family are not considered gifts; (vii) providing that the definition of procurement transaction for purposes of the laws governing lobbyists is limited to those transactions in which the stated or expected value of the contract is $5 million or more; (viii) providing that records relating to formal advisory opinions or informal advice of the Council shall be confidential and excluded from the mandatory disclosure provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act; (ix) providing that a lobbyist's principal is not required to disclose the name of a legislative or executive official, or a member of his immediate family, who attends a reportable entertainment event if that legislative or executive official reimburses the principal for, or otherwise pays for, his attendance or the attendance of a member of his immediate family at the entertainment event; and (x) authorizes the Council to grant an extension from a filing deadline for good cause. The bill contains an emergency clause that applies to the changes described in clauses (vii) through (x).

Finally, the bill requires that the Supreme Court of Virginia report to the Council by October 1, 2016, on the application of the conflict of interests acts on members of the judiciary and evaluate the feasibility of creating separate provisions that would apply to such member. This bill incorporates SB 213, SB 304, SB 657, and SB 738 and is identical to HB 1362.