HD43 - 2004 Interim -- Disclosure Filings Required by the State and Local Government Conflict of Interest Act, the General Assembly Conflict of Interest Act and the Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act
(A final report of the joint subcommittee will be submitted in time for the 2006 Session of the General Assembly.)
2004 Interim -- Joint Subcommittee Studying the Disclosure Filings Required by the State and Local Government Conflict of Interest Act, the General Assembly Conflict of Interest Act and the Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act (HJR 186, 2004)
House Joint Resolution 186, agreed to during the 2004 Session of the General Assembly, established a joint subcommittee to study the disclosure filings required by the State and Local Government Conflict of Interest Act, the General Assembly Conflict of Interest Act and the Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act.
The study charges the joint subcommittee to (i) examine the feasibility and associated costs of requiring the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Clerk of the House of Delegates, and the Clerk of the Senate of Virginia to develop jointly a uniform conflicts of interests form for filings required by Chapter 31 (§ 2.2-3100 et seq.) of Title 2.2 and Chapter 13 (§ 30-100 et seq.) of Title 30 of the Code of Virginia; (ii) examine the lobbyist disclosure reports required by § 2.2-426 and the relationship between lobbyist and conflicts of interests disclosure forms; (iii) evaluate the costs and desirability of having the Secretary of the Commonwealth and Clerks of the House of Delegates and Senate jointly make certain information from the forms available on the Internet; and (iv) analyze the current forms to determine if the level of detail is appropriate and adequately informs the public of potential conflicts of interests. The joint subcommittee is required to complete its work in time for the 2006 Session of the General Assembly.
Two meetings were held during the 2004 interim, the first year of the study. The first meeting occurred on September 22, 2004, in Senate Room A of the General Assembly Building. At that meeting, the joint subcommittee elected Delegate Morgan Griffith as chair and Senator Frederick M. Quayle as vice-chair. The joint subcommittee also conducted an overview of the evolution of the state’s conflict of interest and lobbyist disclosures laws and initiated a broad discussion with representatives of the House and Senate Clerk's Offices and the Secretary of the Commonwealth on how the various forms are administered and what actions could be taken to alleviate any problem areas. The joint subcommittee also adopted a work plan and established a website, which is found at http://dls.state.va.us/disclosureforms.htm. In addition, the joint subcommittee determined to set aside a portion of its next meeting as a public comment period to receive input from citizens and the other interested parties. A notice of the public comment period was sent to over 200 individuals and agencies.
The second meeting was held on November 17, 2003, in House Room C of the General Assembly Building. In addition to the joint subcommittee, four individuals participated in the public comment period held during the meeting. The joint subcommittee developed a list of issues for consideration including concerns and problematic areas pertaining to the content of the disclosure forms and how the forms were administered. The members reached consensus on three concepts that formed the basis of the recommendations for legislation to be introduced during the 2005 Session of the General Assembly:
1) Excusing reappointed individuals who have filed in January from having to file again when reappointed in the months after January;
2) Allowing individuals serving on multiple boards or other entities to file a single statement; and
3) Amending the lobbyist reporting provisions by: i) changing the reporting period from December 1 to November 30, ii) requiring the lobbyist to provide his form to the legislator by a date in December rather than the current January 5th date, and iii) including language appropriate to ensure that there is no gap in reporting coverage during the change of reporting period.
A full and final report of the joint subcommittee will be submitted in time for the 2006 Session of the General Assembly.