PAR Lauds House Action on Bad Ethics Bill
The House narrowly voted down Senate Bill 1032 that threatened to carve out a major exception in the Ethics Code by weakening the code’s safeguards against conflict of interest in land use decisions. The bill was originally drafted to allow public officials in small communities to make applications for zoning or subdivisions without running afoul of the Ethics Code.
Currently, the Ethics Code restricts certain actions of public officials, their family members or firms in managing their property. SB 1032, as amended in House committee, was expanded to apply statewide (except in New Orleans) and to include all municipal mayors, parish presidents and members of municipal and parish governing bodies. This exception would have created an opportunity for significant abuse. To the House’s credit, its members rejected a bill that would have provided incentives to developers to become parish or city council members in order to enhance their commercial interests.