A bill outlining conflict of interest disclosures passed a legislative committee recently.
House Bill 1214, which regulates conflicts of interest, unanimously passed the House State Affairs committee after a brief hearing.
“This (bill) would provide a process for everyone to follow,” Rep. Mark Mickelson, the bill’s sponsor, said. “I think the public would be happy knowing that we have a process in place.”
HB 1214 prohibits school board members and other district employees from receiving money from or through the state or from having an interest in a contract or receiving a direct benefit from the contract unless that contract or benefit is disclosed to and approved by the board.
Other government subdivision and state level elected members are included in the bill’s provisions, as well.
An amendment to the bill added that upon declaration by an individual with a potential conflict of interest, a board can note public disclosure by determining if the conflict is not contrary to the public interest, fair and reasonable and is recorded in the board minutes.
“I think that there are many people that are put in a place where they may wonder whether or not they have a conflict,” Rep. Mickelson said. “This provides them clarity on whether or not they have a conflict.”
Violation of the bill’s provisions is a class one misdemeanor, benefits obtained from the conflict of interest are subject to forfeiture and a governing board can void a contract believed to be in conflict.
HB 1214 now moves to the House floor for review. ASBSD is monitoring the bill.