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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Legislative Ethics Complaint Process - 25 of 25

Background

A legislator may make a written request for an advisory opinion from the Board of Ethics for the General Assembly regarding the conduct of the requesting legislator and the standards of conduct set forth in article 18 of title 24, Colorado Revised Statutes. A legislator may also make a written request for an advisory opinion from the Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) on whether the conduct of the requesting member would violate the provisions of Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution (commonly referred to as Amendment 41) or any other standard of conduct or reporting requirement imposed by law.

Hypothetical

Requests for advisory ethics opinions

As a member of the Senate, you serve on several committees of reference, including the Senate Judiciary Committee.  One morning in the Senate chambers, Senator Box speaks to you about one of his bills that is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.  The senator solicits your support for his bill to increase minimum sentencing requirements for felony convictions.  While you strongly believe in stiffening felony sentencing requirements, you express your reservations about the bill primarily due to the significant general fund appropriation that would be needed to fund additional prison beds.  Senator Box mentions the fact that he serves on the Senate Education Committee and that in two weeks the Education Committee will be taking up a controversial bill of yours that would abolish teacher tenure.  He asks if you have lined up enough votes to get your bill out of committee and you tell him no.  Senator Box suggests that if you agree to vote to pass his bill out of the Judiciary Committee, you can count on his vote to pass your bill out of the Education Committee.  While the senator's offer sounds very attractive to you, you are unsure whether it would be appropriate for you to enter into such an agreement.

Question


Can you request an advisory opinion from either the General Assembly Board of Ethics or the IEC asking whether it would be appropriate for you to enter into this agreement with Senator Box?

Select Yes, but it would be a waste of time since these agreements are made by legislators all the time.

Select No, you may request an advisory opinion only from the General Assembly Board of Ethics since the agreement would be between two legislators.

Select Yes, you may request an advisory opinion from either the General Assembly Board of Ethics or the IEC, or both.

Select No,  since there is not enough time to obtain an advisory opinion from either entity before the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting next week.


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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