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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Conflict-of-interest and voting on legislation - 2 of 25


Under Colorado constitutional and statutory provisions and provisions of various legislative rules, 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.


Legislator's membership in a group affected by legislation

You are the owner of several apartment buildings and other rental properties in your community. A bill has been introduced that would lengthen the period of time available to a tenant to pay past-due rent.


May you vote on the legislation?

Select YES. But only if you vote "for" the bill. Since the bill favors tenants and you are a property owner, no one would think it improper for you to support the bill.

Select YES. Because the governing legal requirements specify that a conflict of interest situation does not arise from legislation affecting the entire membership of a class. Here, the relevant class is the entire group of rental property owners across the state. Because you are a member of this class, you do not have an improper conflict-of-interest situation and, accordingly, may vote on the legislation.

Select NO. Because landlords are so distrusted in the community, it would be better to abstain than to call public attention to your outside real estate interests.

Select NO. Existing law already affords tenants sufficient time within which to cure any default.

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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015

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