- No comments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2014
ETHICS WEBSITE LAUNCHED
Ethics.utah.gov provides additional transparency for all four statewide ethics commissions
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah citizens can now access ethics standards and complaint procedures for all four statewide ethics commissions at Ethics.utah.gov. The Utah Legislature announced the new website today, built in partnership with Utah Interactive and the three new Utah Ethics Commissions.
“This site provides clarity. It explains the work of each commission to Utah citizens,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “We hope we never have cause to receive an ethics complaint, but if we do the state now has independent mechanisms in place to investigate and handle the situation.”
Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart said, “Utah’s government works hard to earn high marks for management, performance and public satisfaction. Today’s launch allows the public to address concerns they may have with confidence, which will help guard against government hubris and safeguard the proper relationship between citizens and elected officials.”
Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis said, “This is one more step in our ongoing work toward government transparency. The new site provides more access and empowers citizens to address improper conduct by elected officials.”
House Minority Leader Jen Seelig said, “I am grateful to have been a part of such a vital creation in the state of Utah. No one is above the law. Utahns across the state can know with clarity what is expected of them, and what the process will be if there is occasion to submit an ethics complaint. Greater accountability means greater success.”
Utah’s four statewide commissions are the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, the Legislative Ethics Commission, the Political Subdivisions Ethics Commission and the Judicial Conduct Commission.
Executive Branch Ethics Commission
In 2013, the Independent Executive Branch Ethics Commission was created by SB 86. The Commission’s duties include responding to and investigating allegations of unethical conduct by the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor and State Treasurer. If the Commission concludes that evidence of misconduct exists, their findings will be made public and forwarded to the Legislature for further action, which may include impeachment. The Commission is comprised of five members, one former state elected official, one former state appointed official, one former judge, and two citizens.
Executive Branch Ethics Commission Chair Carol Nixon said, “It is an honor to serve on the inaugural Executive Branch Ethics Commission. We expect our state leaders, who were insightful enough to create this commission, to serve with integrity. However, when citizens bring serious and legitimate concerns, we are prepared to respond.”
Legislative Ethics Commission
The Independent Legislative Ethics Commission was created in 2010 by SJR 3 and SJR 19. The Commission’s duties include investigating allegations of unethical conduct by state legislators. If the Commission concludes that evidence of misconduct exists, their findings will be made public and forwarded to the House or Senate Ethics Committee for a public hearing. The Commission is comprised of five members; two former legislators and three retired judges.
Judge Lynn Payne, Legislative Ethics Commission Chair, said, “Ethics.utah.gov provides citizens with a streamlined resource for ethics information across all branches of government. For the first time in Utah, all ethical requirements, guidelines and complaint information can be found on a single site.”
Political Subdivisions Ethics Commission
The Utah Political Subdivisions Ethics Commission was created in 2012 following the passage of SB 180 by the Utah Legislature. The Commission’s duties include investigating and responding to allegations of unethical conduct by officials in any political subdivision in the state, such as counties, municipalities, local districts, and other subdivisions. If the Commission concludes that evidence of misconduct exists, it will make a recommendation for disciplinary action and its findings will be made public.
Political Subdivision Ethics Commission Chair Paul Warner said, “The subdivisions ethics commission is prepared to objectively hear cases brought to us. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role as we each know the importance of having ethical government leaders.”
The site also links to the Judicial Conduct Commission, which was created by the legislature in 1971 and established in the state constitution in 1985.
Utah Interactive is an integral partner in building a web presence for the State of Utah, which includes the award-winning Utah.gov and Le.utah.gov.
# # #
Utah.gov is the entry point to over 1000 online services and benefits over 2.7 million residents in the State of Utah. Utah.gov provides citizens and businesses with more convenient options for interacting with government. Through Utah.gov, citizens can find public meetings, renew their vehicle registration, buy a hunting and fishing license, register a business, find a transparent state budget, and much more. In 2012 alone, Utah.gov received an unprecedented 24 awards making it the nation’s most honored state website. Utah.gov is managed and operated through a public-private partnership between the state and Utah Interactive, the Salt Lake City-based official eGovernment partner for the state of Utah. Utah Interactive is part of eGovernment firm NIC’s family of companies.
Le.utah.gov is the portal that connects citizens to the work of the Utah Legislature. The site includes a dynamic suite of tools such as bill tracking, budget information, audio and video, robust search functionality, maps, and a wealth of policy publications. The legislative site was the recipient of the 2014 Online Democracy Award by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Utah House of Representatives
Chief of Staff
Utah State Senate