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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 1, 2016 12:12 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Gubernatorial Conflict of Interest Act
 
In an effort to promote transparency in government, I intend to introduce legislation that would create provisions for when a conflict of interest occurs in the Office of Governor.

Currently, there is no requirement for the Governor to disclose a conflict of interest and even more troubling, no way for a Governor to avoid a conflict of interest.

The General Assembly is bound by standards that are set forth in the Constitution and the rules of the Senate and House. Article III Section 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution clearly states, “A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill proposed or pending before the General Assembly shall disclose the fact to the House of which he is a member, and shall not vote thereon.”

Further, Senate Rule 20 (c) states,
  • (1) A Senator desiring to be excused from voting due to a direct, personal, private or pecuniary interest in any question or bill proposed or pending before the Senate, shall seek a ruling from the presiding officer.
  • (2) Senators who seek a ruling on whether they have a direct, personal, private or pecuniary interest in any question or bill proposed or pending before the Senate shall, after the Senator is recognized by the presiding officer, make a brief statement of the reasons for making the request and ask the presiding officer to decide whether or not the Senator must vote. The question shall be decided by the presiding officer without debate.

Similar rules apply to the Judiciary in the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct. 207 PaCode Ch.33, Canon 2, Rule 2.11 (relating to disqualification).

It is my belief that the Governor should not only be held to the same ethical standards that bind the Senate, House, and Judiciary, but he or she should also be able to utilize the same process of disclosure and transparency that is awarded through these provisions.

Please join me in continuing the effort to provide increased transparency in government by establishing these ethical standards for the Office of Governor.



Introduced as SB1172