An upgrade to criminal charges that can be filed for a conflict of interest crime got closer to implementation on Thursday (2/2).
Senators unanimously passed a slightly amended addition of Senate Bill 27, which which prohibits public officials from misusing their position for personal gain, provides a penalty therefor and implements a grievance process for reporting misuse.
Sen. Arthur Rusch said the bill was introduced by the office of Attorney General Marty Jackley, who testified in favor of the bill during its Senate Judiciary committee hearing. AG Jackley noted during his committee testimony that the bill applies to a public official who “knowingly” misuses their powers or resources for personal benefit.
SB 27 defines a public official as an elected official, appointed official, officer, employee, authority member, board member, commission member, fiscal agent or executive of a local service agency and would include individuals filling the positions listed previously in school districts.
The bill removes a condition of presumed probation for perpetrators and institutes an anti-retaliation grievance process designed to promote employees of public officials to come forward with information on the possible misuse of power and resources.
Sen. Rusch said the bill was on the public “wanted to see” and noted that as the dollar amount misused increases, so too does the level of felony.
SB 27 now moves to the House for review. ASBSD is monitoring the bill.
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