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The changes to the rule codify existing Ethics Commission precedent.  The amendments also impose additional restrictions on solicitations for charity by public officials, including law enforcement officers.

Honorariums (Section 2)

The change to this section makes it consistent with the rule imposed by the Ethics Act regarding the receipt of honorariums by public officials.  This rule is:

Full-Time Elected Public Officials may only receive an honorarium if they donate it to a recognized charity and file a notice with the Ethics Commission. SUMMARY OF CHANGES TO TITLE 158, SERIES 7
Ethics Rule
Solicitation and Receipt of Gifts and Charitable Contributions

OVERVIEW:  The changes to the rule codify existing Ethics Commission precedent.  The amendments also impose additional restrictions on solicitations for charity by public officials, including law enforcement officers.

Honorariums (Section 2)

The change to this section makes it consistent with the rule imposed by the Ethics Act regarding the receipt of honorariums by public officials.  This rule is:

_    Full-Time Elected Public Officials may only receive an honorarium if they donate it to a recognized charity and file a notice with the Ethics Commission.

_    Part-Time Elected Officials may receive an honorarium if a presentation is unrelated to their public position.  For example, a Member of the Legislature may not accept an honorarium for giving a presentation to an association on the Legislative process.  On the other hand, if a Member of the Legislature is an attorney, then in his or her personal capacity as an attorney he or she may accept an honorarium for a presentation to the American Bar Association on effectively litigating mass tort claims.  
 
Admission, Travel and Lodging Expenses for Educational Seminar (Section 3)

_    Expenses -  Public officials and employees may have their admission, travel and lodging expenses paid for by a third party when they attend a conference or seminar if they meet the 5 part balancing test which the Commission has historically applied. Generally, the test weighs and balances if the ultimate benefit is to the public agency if the person in question attends an educational seminar to which the agency may not otherwise be able to afford to send them.

_    Permission B The amendment imposes a requirement that public employees must obtain permission from their supervisors before accepting payment for admission, travel or lodging to a seminar.  Appointed public officials must obtain permission from the governing body on which they serve or from the public official to whom they report.

_    Reasonable expenses B consistent with existing precedent, sets forth what are considered reasonable expenses.  Clarifies that a third party may not pick-up the travel costs for a spouse/guest to educational seminars.  However, if no additional charges are incurred, then it is permissible for a guest to attend.  For example, your spouse may stay with you in the hotel room because normally there is no additional charge for having a guest in the room.
Nominal Gifts (Section 4)

A public official or employee may only accept a gift or gifts from an interested party in the amount of $ 25.00 in one calendar year.  This change is a codification of the Ethics Commission existing interpretation of this limitation.

Public Official who is a speaker (Section 5)

The amendment allows the host of an event where a public official is a speaker to also pay the expenses for one guest.  

Solicitation of Gifts for Charity (Section 6)

_    Charitable causes B The amendment states that what is a charitable purpose will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

_    Use of titles B The amendment clarifies that public officials may use their titles when conducting charitable solicitations. Law enforcement officers are subject to limitations in section 8.

_    Public resources B a reasonable amount may be used for agency sanctioned charitable fundraising events.

_    Payroll deductions B are permissible for such programs as the United Way.

_    Government Agencies B may only solicit if the overriding purpose is to help the poor and disadvantaged.  Otherwise, government agencies may only solicit if the Executive Director or Ethics Commission finds that the solicitation serves a public purpose.  

_    Fund-raising based upon exchange of value B clarifies that these sales are not solicitations.  For example, a car wash.

_    Public employees seriously injured or killed in the line of duty B allows solicitation for this purpose.  

Manner of Solicitation (Section 7)

_    Oral solicitation B A public official or employee may not orally solicit donations from: (1) Persons under the regulatory control of the agency at present or within the past 12 months. [Does not apply to law enforcement personnel but other limitations in Section 8 apply]; or, (2) Vendors who have a contract with the agency.
_    Written solicitations are permissible.
Law Enforcement Officers (Section 8)

_    Law enforcement officers may not solicit in uniform except as otherwise provided for in the rule.
_    May provide decals to members of the public if there is a disclaimer that the holder is not entitled to special treatment.
_    May conduct telephonic solicitations but may not use rank or title unless the caller requests this information.
_    May not pick up donations while in uniform.
_    May wear uniforms while participating in charitable fund-raising activities such as a motorcycle ride or walk.

Free Tickets (Section 9)

_    Charitable, Cultural or Political Events

Clarifies that there is no $25.00 limitation in regards to tickets for admission to a charitable, cultural or political event to which free tickets are customarily extended to public officials. (Consistent with existing exception in EA and past advice rendered by the Ethics Commission).  For example, the local Arts Center may invite a public official to the annual production of the Nutcracker even if the ticket costs in excess of $25.00.  However, the ticket must come from the host of the event or a sponsor, not a party who has purchased tickets to the event.

Ticket for guest B may accept a ticket for a guest to the above-described charitable, cultural or political events.

_    Sporting Events

Ticket in excess of $25.00 B may only accept if you have a ceremonial role.  

Guests - If a public official has a ceremonial role, then he or she may also accept an additional ticket for a guest.  If no ceremonial role, then he or she may only accept a ticket for a guest if the combined value of the tickets does not exceed $25.00 for both tickets.