Senators will soon see a bill outlining conflict of interest disclosure.
On a 67-0 vote, members of the House passed House Bill 1214, which regulates conflicts of interest. HB 1214 saw no opposition during its time in the House and now heads to the Senate for review.
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. 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.
“We live in a small state (and) for the most part we don’t have many problems,” Rep. Mark Mickelson, the bill’s sponsor, said.
“The consequence of living in a small state is there’s going to be conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of interest.”
A provision in the bill would allow an individual to disclose a potential conflict of interest to the board, who can then note the public disclosure by determining if the conflict is not contrary to the public interest, fair and reasonable. The disclosure and discussion would then be recorded in the board minutes.
“We now have a process to follow,” Rep. Mickelson said.
ASBSD is monitoring the bill.