Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 7000

January Session, 2007

 

LCO No. 3747

 

*03747_______GAE*

Referred to Committee on Government Administration and Elections

 

Introduced by:

 

(GAE)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ETHICS AND MUNICIPAL LOBBYING.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) As used in sections 1 to 7, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Business" means any entity through which business for profit or not-for-profit is conducted, including a corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization or self-employed individual.

(2) "Business with which he or she is associated" means a business of which a public official or public employee or a member of his or her immediate family is a director, officer, owner, employee, compensated agent or holder of stock which constitutes five per cent or more of the total outstanding stock of any class.

(3) "Confidential information" means information, whether transmitted orally or in writing, which is obtained by reason of the public position or office held and is of such nature that it is not, at the time of transmission, a matter of public record or public knowledge.

(4) "Financial interest" means any interest with a monetary value of one hundred dollars or more or which generates a financial gain or loss of one hundred dollars or more in a calendar year.

(5) "Gift" means anything of value, including entertainment, food, beverage, travel and lodging given or paid to a public official or public employee to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not received. A gift does not include:

(A) A political contribution otherwise reported as required by law or a donation or payment as described in subdivision (9) or (11) of subsection (b) of section 9-601a of the general statutes;

(B) Services provided by persons volunteering their time for a political campaign;

(C) A commercially reasonable loan made on terms not more favorable than loans made in the ordinary course of business;

(D) A gift received from (i) an individual's spouse, fiance or fiancee, (ii) the parent, brother or sister of such spouse or such individual, or (iii) the child of such individual or the spouse of such child;

(E) Goods or services which are provided to the municipality or district and facilitate governmental action or functions;

(F) A certificate, plaque or other ceremonial award costing less than one hundred dollars;

(G) A rebate or discount on the price of anything of value given in the ordinary course of business without regard to the recipient's status;

(H) Printed or recorded informational material germane to governmental action or functions;

(I) Items of nominal value, not to exceed ten dollars, containing or displaying promotional material;

(J) An honorary degree bestowed upon a public official or public employee by a public or private university or college;

(K) A meal provided at an event or the registration or entrance fee to attend such an event, in which the public employee or public official participates in said person's official capacity;

(L) A meal provided in the home by an individual who resides in the municipality or district; or

(M) Gifts in-kind of nominal value not to exceed twenty-five dollars tendered on gift-giving occasions generally recognized by the public including Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, the birth or adoption of a child, weddings, confirmations or bar or bat mitzvahs, provided the total value of such gifts in any calendar year do not exceed fifty dollars.

(6) "Immediate family" means any spouse, child or dependent relative who resides in the individual's household.

(7) "Individual" means a natural person.

(8) "Municipality" means a town, city or borough.

(9) "Official responsibility" means the direct administrative or operating authority, whether intermediate or final and whether exercisable personally or through subordinates, to approve, disapprove or otherwise direct government action.

(10) "Person" means an individual, sole proprietorship, trust, corporation, union, association, firm, partnership, committee, club or other organization or group of persons.

(11) "Personal interest" means an interest in any action taken by the municipality or district in which an individual will derive a nonfinancial benefit or detriment but which will result in the expenditure of municipal funds.

(12) "Public employee" means a person employed, whether full or part time, by a municipality or a district.

(13) "Public official" means an elected or appointed official, whether paid or unpaid or full or part time, of a municipality or political subdivision thereof, or a district, including candidates for the office and shall also include a district officer elected pursuant to section 7-327 of the general statutes.

(14) "District" means a district established pursuant to section 7-324 of the general statutes.

(15) "Paid consultant" means a person, firm or corporation hired by a municipality or district to provide services to the municipality or district for a fee.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any special act, municipal charter or ordinance, not later than January 1, 2008, each municipality and district shall adopt a code of ethical conduct for its public officials, public employees and paid consultants. Each such code of ethical conduct shall include the provisions set forth in sections 3 to 5, inclusive, of this act or stricter ethical provisions for such public officials, public employees and paid consultants.

(b) Any municipality or district that adopted a code of ethical conduct before July 1, 2007, shall not be required to adopt a new code of ethical conduct under subsection (a) of this section. However, if any such existing code of ethical conduct does not include the provisions set forth in sections 3 to 5, inclusive, of this act or stricter ethical provisions for the municipality's or district's public official, public employees and paid consultants, the municipality or district shall, not later than January 1, 2008, amend its code of ethical conduct to include the provisions set forth in said sections 3 to 5, inclusive, or stricter ethical provisions for such persons.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Each code of ethical conduct adopted by a municipality or district under subsection (a) of section 2 of this act shall include the following or stricter provisions for the municipality's or district's public officials and public employees:

(1) No public employee or public official shall engage in or participate in any business or transaction, including outside employment with a private business, or have an interest, direct or indirect, that is incompatible with the proper discharge of the employee's or official's responsibilities in the public interest or that would tend to impair the employee's or official's independent judgment or action in the performance of the employee's or official's responsibilities.

(2) (A) No public employee or public official shall solicit or accept any gift from any person that, to the employee's or official's knowledge, is interested in any pending matter within such individual's official responsibility.

(B) If a prohibited gift is offered, the employee or official shall refuse it, return it, pay the donor the full value of the gift or donate it to a nonprofit organization, provided the employee or official does not take the corresponding tax deduction or credit. Alternatively, the gift may be deemed to be a gift to the municipality or district, provided it remains in the municipality's or district's possession permanently.

(3) (A) A public employee or public official shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in any matter on behalf of the municipality or district if the employee or official, a business with which he or she is associated, or a member of his or her immediate family, has a financial or personal interest in the matter, including, but not limited to, the sale of real estate, material, supplies or services to the municipality or district.

(B) If such participation is within the scope of the public employee's or public official's official responsibility, the employee or official shall provide written disclosure, which sets forth in detail the nature and extent of such interest.

(C) Notwithstanding the prohibition in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, a public employee or public official may vote or otherwise participate in a matter that involves a determination of general policy if the employee's or official's interest in the matter is shared with a substantial segment of the population of the municipality or district.

(4) In addition to the restrictions in subdivision (3) of this section, a public employee who serves on any governmental body of a municipality or district shall not vote or participate on any matter involving, for the department or program employing such public employee, (A) collective bargaining, (B) compensation or benefits, (C) personnel policies and procedures, (D) the budget, other appropriation or capital funding, or (E) employment, compensation, benefits or performance of personnel, unless such public employee is permitted to vote or participate pursuant to the provisions of a municipal charter or home rule ordinance.

(5) (A) Except for a public official who receives no compensation for service to the municipality or district other than per diem payments and reimbursement of expenses, no public employee or public official shall appear on behalf of private interests before any board, agency or committee of the municipality or district.

(B) Except for a public official who receives no compensation for service to the municipality or district other than per diem payments and reimbursement of expenses, no public employee or public official shall represent private interests against the interest of the municipality or district in any litigation to which the municipality or district is a party.

(6) Nothing in this section shall prohibit or restrict a public employee or public official from appearing before any board or commission of the municipality or district on the employee's or official's own behalf, or from being a party in any action, proceeding or litigation brought by or against the public employee or public official to which the municipality or district is a party.

(7) No public employee or public official shall disclose confidential information concerning municipal affairs, nor shall a public employee or public official use such information for the financial interests of the employee or official or others.

(8) No public employee or public official shall request or permit the use of municipally-owned vehicles, equipment, facilities, materials or property for personal convenience or profit, except when such are available to the public generally or are provided as municipal policy for the use of such public employee or public official in the conduct of official business.

(9) No public employee or public official, or a business with which he or she is associated, or a member of his or her immediate family shall enter into a contract with the municipality or district unless the contract is awarded through a process of public notice and competitive bidding.

(10) No public employee or public official may use the employee's or official's position or office for the financial benefit of the employee or official, a business with which he or she is associated or a member of his or her immediate family.

(11) No public employee or public official shall accept a fee or honorarium for an article, appearance or speech, or for participation at an event, in the employee's or official's official capacity.

(12) No public employee or public official, or member of such individual's immediate family or business with which he or she is associated, shall solicit or accept anything of value, including, but not limited to, a gift, loan, political contribution, reward or promise of future employment based on any understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the public employee or public official would be or had been influenced thereby.

(13) No public employee, public official or candidate for elected office of a municipality or district shall engage in political activity while on municipal or district duty or within any period of time during which such person is expected to perform services for which such person receives compensation from the municipality or district, or utilize municipal or district funds, supplies, vehicles or facilities for the purpose of any such political activity.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Each code of ethical conduct adopted by a municipality or district under subsection (a) of section 2 of this act shall include the following or stricter provisions for the municipality's or district's paid consultants:

(1) No paid consultant of a municipality or district shall represent a private interest in any action or proceeding against the interest of the municipality or district that is in conflict with the performance of said person's duties as a consultant.

(2) No paid consultant may represent anyone other than the municipality or district concerning any matter in which the consultant participated personally and substantially as a consultant to the municipality or district.

(3) No paid consultant shall disclose confidential information learned while performing the consultant's duties for the municipality or district nor shall the consultant use such information for the financial interests of the consultant or others.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Each code of ethical conduct adopted by a municipality or district under subsection (a) of section 2 of this act shall include the following or stricter provisions for the municipality's or district's former public officials and public employees:

(1) No former public employee or public official shall appear for compensation before any municipal or district board or agency in which the employee or official was formerly employed at any time within a period of one year after termination of the employee's or official's service with the municipality or district.

(2) No former public employee or public official shall represent anyone other than the municipality or district concerning any particular matter in which the employee or official participated personally and substantially while in municipal service.

(3) No former public employee or public official shall disclose or use confidential information acquired in the course of and by reason of the employee's or official's official duties, for financial gain for himself or herself or others.

(4) No former public employee or public official who participated substantially in the negotiation or award of a municipal or district contract obliging the municipality or district to pay an amount of one hundred thousand dollars or more, or who supervised the negotiation or award of such a contract shall accept employment with a party to the contract other than the municipality or district for a period of one year after such contract is signed.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Not later than January 1, 2008, each municipality and district that has not established an agency to investigate allegations of unethical conduct, corrupting influence or illegal activities against public officials, public employees and paid consultants of the municipality or district, pursuant to section 7-148h of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall establish a procedure for investigating and deliberating on such allegations. Two or more municipalities or districts may jointly establish such procedure.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Not later than January 1, 2008, each municipality and district that has not required public officials and public employees to disclose their financial interests shall establish a policy for such disclosure. Such policy shall list the offices or positions for which such disclosure shall be required and shall set forth the scope and manner of such disclosure.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) Not later than January 15, 2008, each municipality and district shall submit a report to the Office of State Ethics stating whether the municipality or district has complied with each of the applicable requirements of sections 2 to 7, inclusive, of this act.

(b) Not later than March 1, 2008, the Office of State Ethics shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to ethics. Said report shall (1) indicate the status of the compliance of each municipality and district with the applicable requirements of sections 2 to 7, inclusive, of this act, and (2) if any municipality or district has not complied with any such requirement, make recommendations for securing such compliance, including, but not limited to, proposed legislation.

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) In each odd-numbered year, the Office of State Ethics shall conduct training on ethical issues affecting public officials and public employees of municipalities and districts.

Sec. 10. Subdivision (10) of subsection (c) of section 7-148 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(10) (A) Make all lawful regulations and ordinances in furtherance of any general powers as enumerated in this section, and prescribe penalties for the violation of the same not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars, unless otherwise specifically provided by the general statutes. Such regulations and ordinances may be enforced by citations issued by designated municipal officers or employees, provided the regulations and ordinances have been designated specifically by the municipality for enforcement by citation in the same manner in which they were adopted and the designated municipal officers or employees issue a written warning providing notice of the specific violation before issuing the citation;

[(B) Adopt a code of ethical conduct;]

[(C)] (B) Establish and maintain free legal aid bureaus;

[(D)] (C) Perform data processing and related administrative computer services for a fee for another municipality;

[(E)] (D) Adopt the model ordinance concerning a municipal freedom of information advisory board created under subsection (f) of section 1-205 and establish a municipal freedom of information advisory board as provided by said ordinance and said section.

Sec. 11. Section 7-148h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

[(a)] Any town, city, district, as defined in section 7-324, or borough may, by charter provision or ordinance, establish a board, commission, council, committee or other agency to investigate allegations of unethical conduct, corrupting influence or illegal activities levied against any official, officer or employee of such town, city, district or borough. The provisions of subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, of section 1-82a shall apply to allegations before any such agency of such conduct, influence or activities, to an investigation of such allegations conducted prior to a probable cause finding, and to a finding of probable cause or no probable cause. Any board, commission, council, committee or other agency established pursuant to this section may issue subpoenas or subpoenas duces tecum, enforceable upon application to the Superior Court, to compel the attendance of persons at hearings and the production of books, documents, records and papers.

[(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of any special act, municipal charter or ordinance to the contrary, an elected official of any town, city, district or borough that has established a board, commission, council, committee or other agency under subsection (a) of this section, has an interest that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of the official's duties or employment in the public interest and of the official's responsibilities as prescribed by the laws of this state, if the official has reason to believe or expect that the official, the official's spouse or dependent child, or a business with which he is associated, as defined in section 1-79, will derive a direct monetary gain or suffer a direct monetary loss, as the case may be, by reason of the official's official activity. Any such elected official does not have an interest that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of the official's duties in the public interest and of the official's responsibilities as prescribed by the laws of this state, if any benefit or detriment accrues to the official, the official's spouse or dependent child, or a business with which he, his spouse or such dependent child is associated as a member of a profession, occupation or group to no greater extent than to any other member of such profession, occupation or group. Any such elected official who has a substantial conflict may not take official action on the matter.]

Sec. 12. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) As used in sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Administrative action" means any action or nonaction of any agency of a municipality with respect to the proposal, drafting, development, consideration, amendment, adoption or repeal of any rule, regulation, ordinance, referendum, budget or utility rate, and any action or nonaction of any agency, regarding a contract, grant, award, purchasing agreement, loan, bond, certificate, license, permit or any other matter which is within the official jurisdiction or cognizance of such an agency.

(2) "Business organization" means a sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability company, association, firm or partnership, other than a client lobbyist, which is owned by, or employs one or more individual lobbyists.

(3) "Candidate for municipal office" means any person who has filed a declaration of candidacy or a petition to appear on the ballot for election as a municipal official, or who has raised or expended money in furtherance of such candidacy, or who has been nominated for appointment to serve as a municipal official.

(4) "Client lobbyist" means a lobbyist on behalf of whom lobbying takes place and who makes expenditures for lobbying and in furtherance of lobbying.

(5) "Office" means the Office of State Ethics.

(6) "Communicator lobbyist" means a lobbyist who communicates directly or solicits others to communicate with an official or such official's staff in a municipality for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action.

(7) "Compensation" means any value received or to be received by a person acting as a lobbyist, whether in the form of a fee, salary or forbearance.

(8) "Expenditure" means any advance, conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds, loan, payment, unless expressly excluded; any payments for telephone, mailing, postage, printing and other clerical or office services and materials; any paid communications, costing fifty dollars or more in any calendar year, disseminated by means of any printing, broadcasting or other medium, provided such communications refer to pending administrative or legislative action; any contract, agreement, promise or other obligation; any solicitation or solicitations, costing fifty dollars or more in the aggregate for any calendar year, of other persons to communicate with a municipal official or municipal employee for the purpose of influencing any legislative or administrative act and any pledge, subscription of money or anything of value. "Expenditure" shall not include the payment of a registrant's fee pursuant to section 17 of this act, any expenditure made by any club, committee, partnership, organization, business, union, association or corporation for the purpose of publishing a newsletter or other release to its members, shareholders or employees, or contributions, membership dues or other fees paid to associations, nonstock corporations or tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as from time to time amended.

(9) "Gift" means anything of value, which is directly and personally received, unless consideration of equal or greater value is given in return. "Gift" shall not include:

(A) A political contribution otherwise reported as required by law or a donation or payment described in subdivision (9) or (11) of subsection (b) of section 9-601a of the general statutes;

(B) Services provided by persons volunteering their time;

(C) A commercially reasonable loan made on terms not more favorable than loans made in the ordinary course of business;

(D) A gift received from (i) the individual's spouse, fiance or fiancee, (ii) the parent, brother or sister of such spouse or such individual, or (iii) the child of such individual or the spouse of such child;

(E) Goods or services (i) which are provided to a municipality (I) for use on municipal property, or (II) to support an event or the participation by a municipal official or municipal employee at an event, and (ii) which facilitate municipal action or functions. As used in this subdivision, "municipal property" means property owned or leased by the municipality;

(F) A certificate, plaque or other ceremonial award costing less than one hundred dollars;

(G) A rebate, discount or promotional item available to the general public;

(H) Printed or recorded informational material germane to municipal action or functions;

(I) Food or beverage or both, costing less than fifty dollars in the aggregate per recipient in a calendar year, and consumed on an occasion or occasions at which the person paying, directly or indirectly, for the food or beverage, or the person's representative, is in attendance;

(J) A gift, including, but not limited to, food or beverage or both, provided by an individual for the celebration of a major life event;

(K) Gifts costing less than one hundred dollars in the aggregate or food or beverage provided at a hospitality suite at a meeting or conference of an interstate municipal association, by a person who is not a registrant or is not doing business with the state of Connecticut;

(L) Admission to a charitable or civic event, including food and beverage provided at such event, but excluding lodging or travel expenses, at which a municipal official or municipal employee participates in such official's or employee's official capacity, provided such admission is provided by the primary sponsoring entity;

(M) Anything of value provided by an employer of (i) a municipal official, (ii) a municipal employee, or (iii) a spouse of a municipal official or municipal employee, to such official, employee or spouse, provided such benefits are customarily and ordinarily provided to others in similar circumstances; or

(N) Anything having a value of not more than ten dollars, provided the aggregate value of all things provided by a donor to a recipient under this subdivision in any calendar year shall not exceed fifty dollars.

(10) "Immediate family" means any spouse, dependent children or dependent relatives who reside in the individual's household.

(11) "Individual" means a natural person.

(12) "Legislative action" means introduction, sponsorship, consideration, debate, amendment, passage, defeat, approval, veto, overriding of a veto or any other official action or nonaction with regard to any rule, regulation, ordinance, referendum, budget, measure, resolution, amendment, nomination, appointment, report, or any other matter pending or proposed in a legislative body of a municipality, or any matter which is within the official jurisdiction or cognizance of such legislative body.

(13) "Lobbying" means communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with any official or such official's staff in a municipality, for the purpose of influencing any legislative or administrative action except that the term "lobbying" does not include (A) communications by or on behalf of a party to, or an intervenor in, a contested case, as defined in regulations adopted by the office in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, before a municipality, (B) communications by a representative of a vendor or by an employee of the client lobbyist which representative or employee acts as a salesperson and does not otherwise engage in lobbying regarding any administrative action, (C) communications by an attorney made while engaging in the practice of law and regarding any matter other than legislative action or the proposal, drafting, development, consideration, amendment, adoption or repeal of any rule, regulation, ordinance, referendum or budget, (D) notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (C) of this subdivision, communications by an attorney, made while engaging in the practice of law, with any official or staff of any agency of the municipality having responsibility for land use decisions or the legislative body of the municipality, concerning legislative action or the proposal, drafting, development, consideration, amendment, adoption or repeal of any rule, regulation, ordinance, referendum or budget, with regard to a land use matter before such agency or legislative body, or (E) other communications exempted by regulations adopted by the office in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes.

(14) "Lobbyist" means a person who in lobbying and in furtherance of lobbying, with regard to a single municipality, makes or agrees to make expenditures, or receives or agrees to receive compensation, reimbursement, or both, and such compensation, reimbursement or expenditures for a single municipality are two thousand dollars or more in any calendar year or the combined amount thereof for a single municipality is two thousand dollars or more in any such calendar year. Lobbyist shall not include:

(A) A municipal official or municipal employee, or such official's or employee's designee other than an independent contractor, who is acting within the scope of such official's, employee's or designee's authority or employment;

(B) An attorney, including, but not limited to, bond counsel or a municipal attorney, who is retained and compensated by a municipality to provide legal services to the municipality, or a financial advisor retained and compensated by a municipality to provide financial advisory services to the municipality;

(C) A publisher, owner or an employee of the press, radio or television while disseminating news or editorial comment to the general public in the ordinary course of business;

(D) An individual representing such individual or another person before the municipality other than for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action;

(E) Any individual or employee who receives no compensation or reimbursement specifically for lobbying and who limits such individual's or employee's activities solely to formal appearances to give testimony before public sessions of the legislative body of a municipality and who, if such individual or employee testifies, registers such individual's or employee's appearance in the records of the legislative body;

(F) A member of an advisory board acting within the scope of such member's appointment;

(G) Any person who receives no compensation or reimbursement specifically for lobbying and who spends no more than five hours lobbying or in furtherance of lobbying, unless such person, exclusive of salary, receives compensation or makes expenditures, or both, of two thousand dollars or more in any calendar year for lobbying or the combined amount thereof is two thousand dollars or more in any such calendar year;

(H) A communicator lobbyist who receives or agrees to receive compensation, reimbursement, or both, the aggregate amount of which is less than two thousand dollars from each client in any calendar year;

(I) A public official or state employee, as defined in section 1-79 of the general statutes, other than an independent contractor, who is acting within the scope of his or her authority or employment; or

(J) A senator or representative in Congress acting within the scope of such senator's or representative's office.

(15) "Member of an advisory board" means any person appointed by a municipal official as an advisor or consultant or member of a committee, office or council established to advise, recommend or consult with a municipal official or a branch of municipal government or a committee thereof and who receives no public funds other than per diem payments or reimbursement for such person's actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of such person's official duties and who has no authority to expend any public funds or to exercise the power of a municipality.

(16) "Municipal official" means any elected municipal officer or any person appointed to any office of a municipality.

(17) "Municipal employee" means any employee of a municipality, whether in the classified or unclassified service and whether full or part-time.

(18) "Municipality" means any city, town, borough, municipal corporation, municipal authority, school district, regional district, metropolitan district or other district.

(19) "Person" means an individual, a business, corporation, limited liability company, union, association, firm, partnership, committee, club or other organization or group of persons.

(20) "Political contribution" has the same meaning as in section 9-601a of the general statutes except that for purposes of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, the provisions of subsection (b) of section 9-601a of the general statutes shall not apply.

(21) "Registrant" means a person who is required to register pursuant to section 16 of this act.

(22) "Reimbursement" means any money or thing of value received or to be received in the form of payment for expenses as a lobbyist, not including compensation.

Sec. 13. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) The Office of State Ethics shall:

(1) Adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes to carry out the purposes of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act. The office shall adopt regulations which further clarify the meaning of the terms "directly and personally received" and "major life event", as used in section 12 of this act;

(2) Compile and maintain an index of all reports and statements filed with the office under the provisions of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act and advisory opinions issued by the office with regard to the requirements of said sections, to facilitate public access to such reports, statements and advisory opinions promptly upon the filing or issuance thereof;

(3) Prepare quarterly and annual summaries of statements and reports filed with the office and advisory opinions issued by the office;

(4) Preserve advisory opinions permanently and preserve memoranda filed under subsection (b) of section 14 of this act, statements and reports filed by and with the office for a period of five years from the date of receipt;

(5) Upon the concurring vote of four of its members, the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board shall issue advisory opinions with regard to the requirements of this part, upon the request of any person, subject to the provisions of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, and publish such advisory opinions in the Connecticut Law Journal. Advisory opinions rendered by the office, until amended or revoked, shall be binding on the office and shall be deemed to be final decisions of the office for purposes of section 25 of this act. Any advisory opinion concerning any person subject to the provisions of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act who requested the opinion and who acted in reliance thereon, in good faith, shall be binding upon the office, and it shall be an absolute defense in any criminal action brought under the provisions of said sections that the accused acted in reliance upon such advisory opinion;

(6) Report annually, prior to February fifteenth, to the Governor summarizing the activities of the office concerning sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act; and

(7) Employ necessary staff within available appropriations to carry out the purposes of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act.

Sec. 14. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) (1) Upon the complaint of any person on a form prescribed by the Office of State Ethics, signed under penalty of false statement, or upon its own complaint, the office shall investigate any alleged violation of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act. Not later than five days after the receipt or issuance of such complaint, the office shall provide notice of such receipt or issuance and a copy of the complaint by registered or certified mail to any respondent against whom such complaint is filed and shall provide notice of the receipt of such complaint to the complainant. When the office undertakes an evaluation of a possible violation of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act prior to the filing of a complaint by the office, the subject of the evaluation shall be notified within five business days after a office staff member's first contact with a third party concerning the matter.

(2) In the conduct of its investigation of an alleged violation of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, the office shall have the power to hold hearings, administer oaths, examine witnesses, receive oral and documentary evidence, subpoena witnesses under procedural rules adopted by the office as regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes to compel attendance before the office and to require the production for examination by the office of any document or physical evidence that the office deems relevant in any matter under investigation or in question. In the exercise of such powers, the office may use the services of the state police, who shall provide the same upon the office's request. The office shall make a record of all proceedings conducted pursuant to this subsection. Any witness summoned before the office shall receive the witness fee paid to witnesses in the courts of this state. The respondent shall have the right to appear and be heard and to offer any information which may tend to clear the respondent of probable cause to believe that the respondent has violated any provision of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act. The respondent shall also have the right to be represented by legal counsel 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 shall provide the respondent with a list of its intended witnesses. The office shall make no finding that there is probable cause to believe the respondent is in violation of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, except upon the concurring vote of four of its members.

(b) If a preliminary investigation indicates that probable cause exists for the violation of a provision of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, the office shall initiate hearings to determine whether there has been a violation of said sections. A judge trial referee, who shall be assigned by the Chief Court Administrator and who shall be compensated in accordance with section 52-434 of the general statutes out of funds available to the office, shall preside over such hearing and shall rule on all matters concerning the application of the rules of evidence, which shall be the same as in judicial proceedings. The trial referee shall have no vote in any decision of the office. All hearings of the office held pursuant to this subsection shall be open. At such hearing the office shall have the same powers as 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 shall provide the respondent with a list of its intended witnesses. The judge trial referee shall, while engaged in the discharge of the judge trial referee's duties as provided in this subsection, have the same authority as is provided in section 51-35 of the general statutes 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 shall make a record of all proceedings pursuant to this subsection. The office shall find no person in violation of any provision of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act except upon the concurring vote of five of the members of the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board. Not later than fifteen days after the public hearing conducted in accordance with this subsection, the office shall publish its finding and a memorandum of the reasons for such finding. Such finding and memorandum shall be deemed to be the final decision of the office on the matter for the purposes of chapter 54 of the general statutes. 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 of the general statutes.

(c) If any complaint brought under the provisions of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act is made with the knowledge that it is made without foundation in fact, the respondent shall have a cause of action against the complainant for double the amount of damage caused thereby and if the respondent prevails in such action, the respondent may be awarded by the court the costs of such action together with reasonable attorneys' fees.

(d) No complaint may be made under this section except within three years next after the violation alleged in the complaint has been committed.

(e) No person shall take or threaten to take official action against an individual for such individual's disclosure of information to the office under the provisions of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act. After receipt of information from an individual under the provisions of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, the office shall not disclose the identity of such individual without the individual's consent unless the office determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of an investigation.

Sec. 15. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) Unless the Office of State Ethics makes a finding of probable cause, a complaint alleging a violation of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act shall be confidential except upon the request of the respondent. An office evaluation of a possible violation of said sections undertaken prior to a complaint being filed by the office shall be confidential except upon the request of the subject of the evaluation. If the evaluation is confidential, no information supplied to or received from the office shall be disclosed to any third party by a subject of the evaluation, a person contacted for the purpose of obtaining information or by an office staff or board member. No provision of this subsection shall prevent the office from reporting the possible commission of a crime to the Chief State's Attorney or other prosecutorial authority.

(b) An investigation conducted prior to a probable cause finding shall be confidential except upon the request of the respondent. If the investigation is confidential, the allegations in the complaint and any information supplied to or received from the office shall not be disclosed during the investigation to any third party by a complainant, respondent, witness, designated party, or office of staff or board member.

(c) Not later than three business days after the termination of the investigation, the office shall inform the complainant and the respondent of its finding and provide them a summary of its reasons for making that finding. The office shall publish its finding upon the respondent's request and may also publish a summary of its reasons for making such finding.

(d) If the office makes a finding of no probable cause, the complaint and the record of its investigation shall remain confidential, except upon the request of the respondent and except that some or all of the record may be used in subsequent proceedings. No complainant, respondent, witness, designated party, or office staff or board member shall disclose to any third party any information learned from the investigation, including knowledge of the existence of a complaint, which the disclosing party would not otherwise have known. If such a disclosure is made, the office may, after consultation with the respondent if the respondent is not the source of the disclosure, publish its finding and a summary of its reasons therefor.

(e) The office shall make public a finding of probable cause not later than five business days after the termination of the investigation. At such time the entire record of the investigation shall become public, except that the office may postpone examination or release of such public records for a period not to exceed fourteen days for the purpose of reaching a stipulation agreement pursuant to subsection (c) of section 4-177 of the general statutes.

Sec. 16. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) A lobbyist shall register with the Office of State Ethics pursuant to section 17 of this act for lobbying a municipality if the lobbyist:

(1) Receives or agrees to receive compensation or reimbursement for actual expenses, or both, in a combined amount of two thousand dollars or more in a calendar year for lobbying said municipality, whether that receipt of compensation or reimbursement or agreement to receive such compensation or reimbursement is solely for lobbying or the lobbying is incidental to that person's regular employment; or

(2) Makes or incurs an obligation to make expenditures of two thousand dollars or more in a calendar year for lobbying said municipality.

(b) A lobbyist shall register separately with the office for each municipality for which the lobbyist meets the threshold requirement for registering under subsection (a) of this section.

(c) A person who is a lobbyist pursuant to part II of chapter 10 of the general statutes and is required to register with the office pursuant to section 1-94 of the general statutes shall register separately with the office for each municipality for which the lobbyist meets the threshold requirement for registering under subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 17. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) Each registrant shall file annually with the Office of State Ethics on a separate registration form for each municipality for which the registrant meets the threshold requirement for registering under subsection (a) of section 16 of this act, except that a registrant representing a regional or state-wide trade association or similar entity, which lobbies in more than one municipality, shall be required to file only one registration on behalf of such association or entity per registration period and such association or entity shall also be required to file only one registration per registration period. The registrant shall sign each such form under penalty of false statement and file such forms with the office on or before January fifteenth or prior to the commencement of lobbying, whichever is later. If the registrant is not an individual, an authorized officer or agent of the registrant shall sign each form. Such registration or registrations shall be on a form prescribed by the office and shall include:

(1) If the registrant is an individual, the registrant's name, permanent address and temporary address while lobbying and the name, address and nature of business of any person who compensates or reimburses, or agrees to compensate or reimburse the registrant and the terms of the compensation, reimbursement or agreement, but shall not include the compensation paid to an employee for the employee's involvement in activities other than lobbying;

(2) If the registrant is a corporation, the name, address, place of incorporation and the principal place of business of the corporation;

(3) If the registrant is an association, group of persons or an organization, the name and address of the principal officers and directors of such association, group of persons or organization. If the registrant is formed primarily for the purpose of lobbying, it shall disclose the name and address of any person contributing two thousand dollars or more to the registrant's lobbying activities in any calendar year;

(4) If the registrant is not an individual, the name and address of each individual who will lobby on the registrant's behalf; and

(5) The name of the municipality that the registrant is lobbying and the identification, with reasonable particularity, of areas of legislative action or administrative action on which the registrant expects to lobby.

(b) Each registrant shall pay a reasonable fee not in excess of the cost of administering each registration form filed by the registrant under subsection (a) of this section in a calendar year, plus the cost of collecting, filing, copying and distributing the information filed by registrants under section 18 of this act, but not less than twenty-five dollars.

(c) Each registrant shall file a notice of termination within thirty days after the registrant ceases the activity that required registration, provided the registrant does not intend to resume the activity during the annual period for which the registrant is registered. The termination of a registration shall not relieve the registrant of the reporting requirements of section 18 of this act for the period preceding the date that the registrant's notice of termination is received by the office or for the period commencing on such date and ending on December thirty-first of the year in which termination occurs.

Sec. 18. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) Each client lobbyist registrant shall file with the Office of State Ethics between the first and tenth day of April, July, October and January a financial report, signed under penalty of false statement. Each report shall cover its lobbying activities during the previous calendar quarter. If the client lobbyist registrant is not an individual, an authorized officer or agent of the client lobbyist registrant shall sign the form.

(b) Each individual communicator lobbyist registrant and each business organization communicator lobbyist registrant shall file with the office between the first and tenth day of January a report or reports, signed under penalty of false statement, reporting the amounts of compensation and reimbursement received from each of the registrant's clients during the previous year. In addition, each individual communicator lobbyist registrant and each business organization communicator lobbyist registrant shall: (1) Report the fundamental terms of contracts, agreements or promises to pay or receive compensation or reimbursement or to make expenditures in furtherance of lobbying, including the categories of work to be performed and the dollar value or compensation rate of the contract, at the time of registration; (2) report, in accordance with the schedule set forth in subsection (a) of this section, any amendments to these fundamental terms, including any agreements to subcontract lobbying work; and (3) report, in accordance with the schedule set forth in subsection (a) of this section, any expenditures for the benefit of a municipal official or a member of the staff or immediate family of the municipal official that are unreimbursed and required to be itemized. Such report shall not include the disclosure of food and beverage provided by a communicator lobbyist registrant to a municipal official or a member of the municipal official's staff or immediate family at a major life event, as defined by the office, of the registrant. All such information shall be reported under penalty of false statement.

(c) An individual communicator lobbyist registrant shall file a separate report for each person from whom the registrant received compensation or reimbursement. Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, a business organization to which one or more individual communicator lobbyist registrants belongs may file a single report for each client lobbyist in lieu of any separate reports that individual registrants are required to file pursuant to this subsection.

(d) Each registrant who files a notice of termination under subsection (c) of section 17 of this act shall file with the office a financial report, under penalty of false statement, between the first and tenth day of January of the year following termination.

(e) Each client lobbyist registrant financial report shall be on a form prescribed by the office and shall state expenditures made and the fundamental terms of contracts, agreements or promises to pay compensation or reimbursement or to make expenditures in furtherance of lobbying. Any such fundamental terms shall be reported once in the quarterly or post-termination report next following the entering into of such contract. Such financial report shall include an itemized statement of each expenditure of ten dollars or more per person for each occasion made by the reporting registrant or a group of registrants that includes the reporting registrant for the benefit of a municipal official or a member of the municipal official's staff or immediate family, itemized by date, beneficiary, amount and circumstances of the transaction. The requirement of an itemized statement shall not apply to an expenditure made by a reporting registrant or a group of registrants which includes the reporting registrant for benefits personally and directly received by a municipal official or municipal employee at a charitable or civic event at which the municipal official or municipal employee participates in such official's or employee's official capacity, unless the expenditure is thirty dollars or more per person, per event. If the compensation is required to be reported for an individual whose lobbying is incidental to such individual's regular employment, it shall be sufficient to report a prorated amount based on the value of the time devoted to lobbying. On the first financial report following registration each client lobbyist registrant shall include any expenditures incident to lobbying activities that were received or expended prior to registration and not previously reported to the office.

(f) The office shall, by regulations adopted in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, establish minimum amounts for each item required to be reported, below which reporting may be made in the aggregate. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to expenditures made for the benefit of a municipal official or a member of such person's staff or immediate family.

(g) Each former registrant shall (1) report receipts or expenditures incident to lobbying activities during the former registrant's period of registration that are received or expended following termination of registration, and (2) report each expenditure of ten dollars or more per person for each occasion made by the former registrant for the benefit of a municipal official or a member of such official's immediate family or staff that occurs within six months after termination of registration.

(h) The office shall, not later than thirty days after receipt of a financial report that contains the name of a municipal official or a member of such official's staff or immediate family, send a written notice to such official of the filing of the report and the name of the person who filed it.

Sec. 19. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) Each registrant shall obtain and preserve all accounts, bills, receipts and other documents necessary to substantiate the financial reports required by section 18 of this act for a period of three years from the date of the filing of the report referring to such financial matters, provided this section shall apply to each expenditure for the benefit of a municipal official of ten dollars or more and all other expenditures of fifty dollars or more.

(b) The Office of State Ethics may require, on a random basis, any registrant to make all such documents substantiating financial reports concerning lobbying activities available for inspection and copying by the office for the purpose of verifying such financial reports, provided no registrant shall be subject to such requirement more than one time during any three consecutive years. The office shall select registrants to be audited by lot in a ceremony which shall be open to the public. Nothing in this subsection shall require a registrant to make any documents concerning nonlobbying activities available to the office for inspection and copying.

Sec. 20. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Each registrant required to file any financial reports under section 18 of this act shall do so in electronic form using the electronic filing program developed by the Office of State Ethics.

Sec. 21. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) The Office of State Ethics shall make all computerized data from financial reports required by section 18 of this act available to the public through (1) a computer terminal in the Office of State Ethics, and (2) the Internet or any other generally available on-line computer network.

Sec. 22. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Each registrant who pays or reimburses a municipal official or municipal employee ten dollars or more for necessary expenses shall, within thirty days, file a statement with the office indicating the name of such individual and the amount of the expenses. As used in this section, "necessary expenses" means a municipal official's or municipal employee's expenses for an article, appearance or speech or for participation at an event, in such official's or employee's official capacity, which shall be limited to necessary travel expenses, lodging for the nights before, of and after the appearance, speech or event, meals and any related conference or seminar registration fees.

Sec. 23. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) No registrant or anyone acting on behalf of a registrant shall knowingly give a gift to any municipal official, municipal employee, candidate for municipal office or a member of any such person's staff or immediate family. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit any activity prohibited under section 53a-147 or 53a-148 of the general statutes.

(b) No person or business organization shall be employed to lobby for compensation which is contingent upon the outcome of any administrative or legislative action. No person shall employ a lobbyist or business organization for compensation that is contingent upon the outcome of any administrative or legislative action.

(c) No lobbyist may: (1) Do anything with the purpose of placing any municipal official under personal obligation; (2) attempt to influence any legislative action or administrative action for the purpose of thereafter being employed to secure its defeat; or (3) cause any communication to be sent to any municipal official in the name of any other individual except with the consent of such individual.

(d) Any person who gives to a municipal official, municipal employee or candidate for municipal office, or a member of any such person's staff or immediate family anything of value which is subject to the reporting requirements pursuant to subsection (e) of section 18 of this act shall, not later than ten days thereafter, give such recipient a written report stating the name of the donor, a description of the item or items given, the value of such items and the cumulative value of all items given to such recipient during that calendar year. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a political contribution otherwise reported as required by law.

Sec. 24. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Any person aggrieved by any final decision of the Office of State Ethics, made pursuant to sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, may appeal such decision in accordance with the provisions of section 4-175 or 4-183 of the general statutes.

Sec. 25. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) (a) The Office of State Ethics, upon a finding made pursuant to section 14 of this act that there has been a violation of any provision of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act, shall have the authority to order the violator to do any or all of the following: (1) Cease and desist the violation of said sections; (2) file any report, statement or other information as required by said sections; or (3) pay a civil penalty of not more than two thousand dollars for each violation of said sections. The office may prohibit any person who intentionally violates any provision of said sections from engaging in the profession of lobbyist for a period of not more than two years. In addition to such provisions, the office may impose a civil penalty on any person who violates subsection (b) of section 23 of this act by receiving, agreeing to receive, paying, or agreeing to pay, compensation that is contingent upon the outcome of any administrative or legislative action or by terminating a lobbying contract as the result of the outcome of an administrative action or legislative action. The civil penalty shall not exceed the total amount of compensation that the person was required to pay or be paid under the contingent compensation agreement. No person may benefit from an agreement that violates subsection (b) of section 23 of this act.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the office may, after a hearing conducted in accordance with sections 4-176e to 4-184, inclusive, of the general statutes upon the concurring vote of five of its members, 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 sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act. 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 two thousand dollars.

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

Sec. 26. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Any person who intentionally violates any provision of sections 12 to 27, inclusive, of this act shall be imprisoned for a term not to exceed one year or shall be fined an amount not to exceed two thousand dollars, or both.

Sec. 27. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2007) Each individual who is a lobbyist shall, while engaged in lobbying, wear a distinguishing badge which shall identify the individual as a lobbyist. The size, color, material and other requirements of such badge shall be prescribed by regulation of the Office of State Ethics.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 2

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 3

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 4

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 5

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 6

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 7

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 8

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 9

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 10

July 1, 2007

7-148(c)(10)

Sec. 11

July 1, 2007

7-148h

Sec. 12

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 13

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 14

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 15

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 16

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 17

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 18

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 19

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 20

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 21

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 22

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 23

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 24

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 25

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 26

July 1, 2007

New section

Sec. 27

July 1, 2007

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To provide for municipal codes of ethics and the regulation of municipal lobbyists in the same manner as the regulation of state lobbyists.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]