Bill Text: CT HB07248 | 2017 | General Assembly | Chaptered


Bill Title: An Act Concerning Appointments To The Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board And The Board's Authority In Ethics Enforcement Proceedings.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (? 1-0)

Status: (Passed) 2017-07-11 - Signed by the Governor [HB07248 Detail]

Download: Connecticut-2017-HB07248-Chaptered.html

House Bill No. 7248

Public Act No. 17-235

AN ACT CONCERNING APPOINTMENTS TO THE CITIZEN'S ETHICS ADVISORY BOARD AND THE BOARD'S AUTHORITY IN ETHICS ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 1-80 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) There shall be established an Office of State Ethics. Said office shall consist of an executive director, general counsel, ethics enforcement officer and such other staff as hired by the executive director. Within the Office of State Ethics, there shall be the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board that shall consist of nine members, appointed as follows: One member shall be appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, one member by the president pro tempore of the Senate, one member by the majority leader of the Senate, one member by the minority leader of the Senate, one member by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, one member by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, and three members by the Governor. [Members of the board first appointed for a term commencing October 1, 2005, shall have the following terms: The Governor shall appoint two members for a term of three years and one member for a term of four years; the majority leader of the House of Representatives, minority leader of the House of Representatives and the speaker of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member for a term of two years; and the president pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the Senate and the minority leader of the Senate shall each appoint one member for a term of four years. The term commencing October 1, 2009, for the member appointed by the Governor and the member appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate shall be five years. Upon the expiration of such members' five-year terms, such members may not be reappointed. Any member appointed for a term commencing on or after October 1, 2014, shall serve for a term of four years. No individual shall be appointed to more than one four-year or five-year term as a member of the board, provided, members may not continue in office after their term has expired and members first appointed may not be reappointed. ] Members shall be appointed to serve a four-year term commencing on October first of the year in which the prior four-year term expires. Any member may be reappointed. No more than five members shall be members of the same political party. [The members appointed by the majority leader of the Senate and the majority leader of the House of Representatives shall be selected from a list of nominees proposed by a citizen group having an interest in ethical government. The majority leader of the Senate and the majority leader of the House of Representatives shall each determine the citizen group from which each will accept such nominations. One member appointed by the Governor shall be selected from a list of nominees proposed by a citizen group having an interest in ethical government. The Governor shall determine the citizen group from which the Governor will accept such nominations. ]

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 1-80 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(c) Any vacancy on the board shall be filled by the appointing authority having the power to make the original appointment [. An individual selected by the appointing authority to fill a vacancy shall be eligible for appointment to one full four-year term thereafter. Any vacancy occurring on the board shall be filled] within thirty days.

Sec. 3. Subsection (e) of section 1-80 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(e) Any matter before the board, except hearings held pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of section 1-82, as amended by this act, or subsection (b) of section 1-93, may be assigned by the board to two of its members to conduct an investigation or hearing, as the case may be, to ascertain the facts and report thereon to the board with a recommendation for action. Any hearing held pursuant to this subsection shall be held in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Sec. 4. Subsection (i) of section 1-80 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(i) No member or employee of the board or Office of State Ethics may make a contribution, as defined in section 9-601a, to any [person subject to the provisions of this part] state employee, public official, candidate for state-wide office or candidate for the office of representative or senator in the General Assembly.

Sec. 5. Subsections (l) and (m) of section 1-80 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(l) No member of the board may hold any other position in state employment for a period of one year following the end of such member's service on the board, including, but not limited to, service as a member on a state board or commission, service as a judge of the Superior Court or service as a state agency commissioner. The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to prohibit any former board member from holding a volunteer or unpaid position in state service within one year of the end of his or her service on the board.

(m) Upon request of any aggrieved party, the board [shall] may delay the effect of any decision rendered by the board for a period not to exceed [more than] seven days following the rendering of such decision.

Sec. 6. Subsection (b) of section 1-82 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(b) If a judge trial referee determines that probable cause exists for the violation of a provision of this part or section 1-101nn, the board shall initiate hearings to determine whether there has been a violation of this part or section 1-101nn. Any such hearing shall be initiated by the board not later than thirty days after the finding of probable cause by a judge trial referee and shall be concluded not later than ninety days after its initiation, except that such thirty or ninety-day limitation period shall not apply if the judge trial referee determines that good cause exists for extending such limitation period. A judge trial referee, who has not taken part in the probable cause determination on the matter shall be assigned by the Chief Court Administrator and shall be compensated in accordance with section 52-434 out of funds available to the Office of State Ethics. [and] Such judge trial referee shall preside over such hearing and rule on all issues concerning the application of the rules of evidence, which shall be the same as in judicial proceedings. The judge trial referee shall have no vote in any decision of the board. All hearings of the board held pursuant to this subsection shall be open. At such hearing the board shall have the same powers as the Office of State Ethics under subsection (a) of this section and the respondent shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel, [the right] to compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents, records and papers and to examine and cross-examine witnesses. Not later than ten days prior to the commencement of any hearing conducted pursuant to this subsection, the Office of State Ethics shall provide the respondent with a list of its intended witnesses. The judge trial referee shall, while engaged in the discharge of the duties as provided in this subsection, have the same authority as is provided in section 51-35 over witnesses who refuse to obey a subpoena or to testify with respect to any matter upon which such witness may be lawfully interrogated, and may commit any such witness for contempt for a period no longer than thirty days. The Office of State Ethics shall make a record of all proceedings pursuant to this subsection. During the course of any such hearing, no ex-parte communication shall occur between the board, or any of its members, and: (1) The judge trial referee, or (2) any staff member of the Enforcement Division of the Office of State Ethics, concerning the complaint or the respondent. The board shall find no person in violation of any provision of this part or section 1-101nn except upon the concurring vote of [six] two-thirds of its members present and voting. No member of the board shall vote on the question of whether a violation of any provision of this part has occurred unless such member was physically present for the duration of any hearing held pursuant to this subsection. Not later than fifteen days after the public hearing conducted in accordance with this subsection, the board shall publish its finding and a memorandum of the reasons therefor. Such finding and memorandum shall be deemed to be the final decision of the board on the matter for the purposes of chapter 54. The respondent, if aggrieved by the finding and memorandum, may appeal therefrom to the Superior Court in accordance with the provisions of section 4-183.

Sec. 7. Section 1-88 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) The board, upon a finding made pursuant to section 1-82, as amended by this act, that there has been a violation of any provision of this part or section 1-101nn, shall have the authority to order the violator to do any or all of the following: (1) Cease and desist the violation of this part or section 1-101nn; (2) file any report, statement or other information as required by this part or section 1-101nn; and (3) pay a civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars for each violation of this part or section 1-101nn.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the board may, after a hearing conducted in accordance with sections 4-176e to 4-184, inclusive, upon the concurring vote of [six] two-thirds of its members [,] present and voting, impose a civil penalty not to exceed ten dollars per day upon any individual who fails to file any report, statement or other information as required by this part or section 1-101nn. Each distinct violation of this subsection shall be a separate offense and in case of a continued violation, each day thereof shall be deemed a separate offense. In no event shall the aggregate penalty imposed for such failure to file exceed ten thousand dollars.

(c) The board may also report its finding to the Chief State's Attorney for any action deemed necessary. The board, upon a finding made pursuant to section 1-82, as amended by this act, that a member or member-elect of the General Assembly has violated any provision of this part or section 1-101nn, shall notify the appropriate house of the General Assembly, in writing, of such finding and the basis for such finding.

(d) Any person who knowingly acts in such person's financial interest in violation of section 1-84, as amended by this act, 1-85, 1-86, 1-86d, 1-86e, as amended by this act, or 1-101nn or any person who knowingly receives a financial advantage resulting from a violation of any of said sections shall be liable for damages in the amount of such advantage. If the board determines that any person may be so liable, it shall immediately inform the Attorney General of that possibility.

(e) Any employee of the Office of State Ethics or member of the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board who, in violation of this part or section 1-101nn, discloses information filed in accordance with subparagraph (F) of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 1-83, shall be dismissed, if an employee, or removed from the board, if a member.

(f) Any civil penalty imposed by the board pursuant to this section may be enforced by the Office of State Ethics as a money judgment in accordance with chapter 906.

Sec. 8. Subsection (b) of section 1-93 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(b) If a judge trial referee indicates that probable cause exists for the violation of a provision of this part, the board shall initiate hearings to determine whether there has been a violation of this part. Any such hearing shall be initiated by the board not later than thirty days after the finding of probable cause by a judge trial referee and shall be concluded not later than ninety days after its initiation, except that such thirty-day or ninety-day limitation period shall not apply if the judge trial referee determines that good cause exists for extending such limitation period. A judge trial referee, who has not taken part in the probable cause determination on the matter shall be assigned by the Chief Court Administrator and shall be compensated in accordance with section 52-434 out of funds available to the board. [and] Such judge trial referee shall preside over such hearing and rule on all issues concerning the application of the rules of evidence, which shall be the same as in judicial proceedings. The judge trial referee shall have no vote in any decision of the board. All hearings of the board held pursuant to this subsection shall be open. At such hearing the board shall have the same powers as the Office of State Ethics under subsection (a) of this section and the respondent shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel, [the right] to compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents, records and papers and to examine and cross-examine witnesses. Not later than ten days prior to the commencement of any hearing conducted pursuant to this subsection, the Office of State Ethics shall provide the respondent with a list of its intended witnesses. The judge trial referee shall, while engaged in the discharge of the duties as provided in this subsection, have the same authority as is provided in section 51-35 over witnesses who refuse to obey a subpoena or to testify with respect to any matter upon which such witness may be lawfully interrogated, and may commit any such witness for contempt for a period no longer than thirty days. The Office of State Ethics shall make a record of all proceedings pursuant to this subsection. During the course of any such hearing, no ex-parte communication shall occur between the board, or any of its members, and: (1) The judge trial referee, or (2) any staff member of the Enforcement Division of the Office of State Ethics, concerning the complaint or the respondent. The board shall find no person in violation of any provision of this part except upon the concurring vote of [six] two-thirds of its members present and voting. No member of the board shall vote on the question of whether a violation of any provision of this part has occurred unless such member was physically present for the duration of any hearing held pursuant to this subsection. Not later than fifteen days after the public hearing conducted in accordance with this subsection, the board shall publish its finding and a memorandum of the reasons therefor. Such finding and memorandum shall be deemed to be the final decision of the board on the matter for the purposes of chapter 54. The respondent, if aggrieved by the finding and memorandum, may appeal therefrom to the Superior Court in accordance with the provisions of section 4-183.

Sec. 9. Section 1-99 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) The board, upon a finding made pursuant to section 1-93, as amended by this act, that there has been a violation of any provision of this part, shall have the authority to order the violator to do any or all of the following: (1) Cease and desist the violation of this part; (2) file any report, statement or other information as required by this part; or (3) pay a civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars for each violation of this part. The board may prohibit any person who intentionally violates any provision of this part from engaging in the profession of lobbyist for a period of not more than two years. The board may impose a civil penalty on any person who knowingly enters into a contingent fee agreement in violation of subsection (b) of section 1-97 or terminates a lobbying contract as the result of the outcome of an administrative or legislative action. The civil penalty shall be equal to the amount of compensation which the registrant was required to be paid under the agreement.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the board may, after a hearing conducted in accordance with sections 4-176e to 4-184, inclusive, upon the concurring vote of two-thirds of its members present and voting, impose a civil penalty not to exceed ten dollars per day upon any registrant who fails to file any report, statement or other information as required by this part. Each distinct violation of this subsection shall be a separate offense and, in case of a continued violation, each day thereof shall be deemed a separate offense. In no event shall the aggregate penalty imposed for such failure to file exceed ten thousand dollars.

(c) The board may also report its finding to the Chief State's Attorney for any action deemed necessary.

(d) Any civil penalty imposed by the board pursuant to this section may be enforced by the Office of State Ethics as a money judgment in accordance with chapter 906.

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