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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Conflict-of-interest and voting on legislation - 1 of 25

Background

Under Colorado Const. art. V, sec. 43, House Rule 21(c), Senate Rules 17(c) and 41, and Joint Rule 42, a member of the General Assembly who has a personal or financial interest in pending legislation is required to disclose the fact of that interest and may not vote on the legislation. Ethical principles set forth in statute, such as section 24-18-107, C.R.S., also provide guidance in matters of conflict of interest. An improper conflict of interest situation does not arise from legislation affecting the entire membership of a class. Joint Rule 42 specifies that a legislator shall be considered to have a personal, private, or financial interest in a pending bill, measure, or question if the passage or failure of the legislation will result in the legislator deriving a direct financial or pecuniary benefit that is greater than any such benefit derived by or shared by other persons in the legislator's profession, occupation, industry or region. Joint Rule 42 further provides that a legislator shall not be deemed to have such an interest in legislation where that interest arises from legislation affecting the entire membership of a class to which the legislator belongs.

Hypothetical

Board membership and ownership interest in a business that will benefit financially from legislation

You are hearing a bill on second reading that would provide a tax credit to owners of closed molybdenum mines for reimbursement of the costs incurred in reopening the mines. Your father is the majority owner of a mining company that has been buying up closed molybdenum mines across the country and particularly within Colorado. You sit on the board of directors of the mining company and own 10% of the company's stock.

Question


May you vote on the legislation?

YES Yes, on the condition that you disclose your affiliation with the mining company on your gift and honoraria report.

YES Yes, because the tax credit won't result in that much lost revenue to the state.

YES Yes, because your 10% interest only makes you a minority owner in the mining company.

NO No.  In light of your ownership interest, it appears you have a personal, private, or financial interest in the legislation and, therefore, are required to disclose the fact of such interest and not vote on the legislation.


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Last updated: 07 NOV 2012


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