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


Legislator's financial interest in legislation arising from benefits from legislation accruing to spouse
A bill is being considered by the General Assembly that would provide comprehensive state assistance to promote biotechnological research within the state as well as related commercial applications. The assistance includes tax benefits and the establishment of a special state fund and a new grants program. You are a member of the General Assembly and your spouse is a well-known and well-recognized research scientist who heads a special institute for biotechnological research at one of our state's leading research universities. Under the bill, state financial assistance would be directed to a variety of public and private entities but significant resources would be particularly directed to the institute headed by your spouse. It is likely the benefits from the bill would have the effect of increasing the institute's budget and your spouse's national profile and income.

May you vote on the legislation?


Correct answer:NO.  By virtue of your spouse's position, you have a personal, private, or financial interest in the legislation necessitating your abstention from voting on the bill is CORRECT.
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Joint Rule 42 directs the relevant inquiry to whether you, as a member, will benefit from or be disadvantaged by the legislation more than any other member of the General Assembly. By virtue of the special position held by your spouse and the extra benefits that will be directed to the institute generally and to your spouse more specifically because of the legislation, there is a reasonable likelihood that your immediate household will benefit from the legislation more than other members of the General Assembly. This gives you a personal, private, or financial interest in the legislation necessitating your abstention from voting on the bill.

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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015

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