HB301 (2023) Detail

Relative to recusal by members of the general court for conflicts of interest.


HB 301  - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2023 SESSION

23-0480

08/04

 

HOUSE BILL 301

 

AN ACT relative to recusal by members of the general court for conflicts of interest.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Hill, Merr. 2; Rep. L. Turcotte, Straf. 4; Rep. C. McGuire, Merr. 27; Rep. Vose, Rock. 5; Rep. Bernardy, Rock. 36; Rep. Weyler, Rock. 14; Rep. Sheehan, Hills. 43; Sen. Lang, Dist 2; Sen. Avard, Dist 12

 

COMMITTEE: Legislative Administration

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill defines conflicts of interests relative to legislative ethics and delineates when members of the general court should recuse themselves due to such conflicts of interests.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

23-0480

08/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Three

 

AN ACT relative to recusal by members of the general court for conflicts of interest.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Findings; Purpose.  The general court hereby finds:

I.  That part II, article 7 of the New Hampshire constitution states:  "No member of the general court shall take fees, be of counsel, or act as advocate, in any cause before either branch of the Legislature; and upon due proof thereof, such member shall forfeit his seat in the Legislature."

II.  That the general court has adopted principles of public service including the principle requiring "independent, objective judgment in performing a legislator's duties and deciding all matters on the merits free from conflicts of interest and both real and apparent improper influences."

III.  That the New Hampshire general court, consistent with RSA 14-B:3, has adopted guidelines prohibiting legislators from engaging in certain activities.

IV.  That in order to comply with New Hampshire's constitutional requirements, to satisfy statutory requirements, and to maintain the confidence of the New Hampshire citizenry in official legislative activities, recusal from voting on any legislation when there is a conflict of interest is sometimes required.

2  Conflicts of Interest.  Amend the chapter title of RSA 14-C to read as follows:

GIFTS, HONORARIUMS, AND EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENTS REQUIREMENTS

FOR LEGISLATORS AND LEGISLATIVE EMPLOYEES

AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST FOR LEGISLATORS

3  New Sections; Recusal for Conflicts of Interest.  Amend RSA 14-C by inserting after section 4 the following new sections:

14-C:4-a  Recusal and Disclosure for Conflicts of Interest.  A legislator shall recuse himself or herself from voting during any official legislative activity when the legislator, or any person the legislator cares about:

I.  Has a conflict of interest in the official legislative activity.

II.  Is receiving remuneration from an employer which has a conflict of interest in the official legislative activity.

III.  Is acting as counsel or serving as an attorney for any party which has a conflict of interest in the official legislative activity.

IV.  Serves in any official capacity with fiduciary limitations in an organization whether nonprofit or for profit which is the subject of the official legislative activity.

14-C:4-b  Disclosure for Conflicts of Interest.  A legislator shall verbally disclose on the record before participating in testimony in committee or debate on the House floor or Senate floor when the legislator, or any person the legislator cares about:

I.  Has a conflict of interest in the official legislative activity.

II.  Is receiving remuneration from an employer which has a conflict of interest in the official legislative activity.

III.  Is acting as counsel or serving as an attorney for any party which has a conflict of interest in the official legislative activity.

IV.  Serves in any official capacity with fiduciary limitations in an organization whether nonprofit or for profit which is the subject of the official legislative activity.

14-C:4-c  Exclusions to Recusal for Conflicts of Interest.  The restriction on voting shall not apply to budget or general revenue bills or bills of such great interest where such a large percentage of the members that would be affected as to cause a problem with quorum in the committee or in the full legislative bodies.

4  Legislative Ethics; Definition; Conflict of Interest.  Amend RSA 14-B:1, I to read as follows:

I.  "Conflict of interest" means the condition in which a legislator has a [special] real or perceived financial interest or a non-financial personal interest in any matter which could directly or indirectly affect or influence the performance of the legislator's official activities.  In this paragraph:

(a)  A financial interest exists where a legislator, or someone the legislator cares about, could stand to gain or lose anything of material value as a result of the official activity.

(b)  A non-financial personal interest exists where a legislator, or someone the legislator cares about, has a responsibility for the welfare of an organization by virtue of holding a position with a fiduciary responsibility, such as a board member, trustee, or director.

(c)  "Someone the legislator cares about" means a person who affects the legislator to such an extent as to cause or influence the legislator to act in a manner contrary to how they may act without that relationship.  This person, or persons, may or may not include family members, friends, or business associates.

5  Repeal.  RSA 14-B:1, V, relative to the definition of special interests relative to legislative ethics, is repealed.

6  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 30 days after its passage.

Links

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 2, 2023 House Hearing
Jan. 30, 2023 House Hearing

Bill Text Revisions

HB301 Revision: 37195 Date: Jan. 9, 2023, 10:01 a.m.

Docket


Jan. 25, 2023: Full Committee Work Session: 02/06/2023 09:00 am LOB 301-303


Jan. 18, 2023: Public Hearing: 01/30/2023 01:00 pm LOB 301-303


Jan. 10, 2023: Public Hearing: 02/02/2023 01:00 pm LOB 301-303


Jan. 9, 2023: Introduced (in recess of) 01/05/2023 and referred to Legislative Administration