20-HB1943/SB2600 – Holt/Niceley

Bill Description

Present law prohibits a member of a county legislative body who is also a county employee or the spouse of a county employee from voting on matters that create a conflict of interest. Under present law, a conflict of interest arises when a member is voting on a matter which, if approved, would increase the pay or benefits of that member or that member's spouse. Under present law, the vote of any member having a conflict of interest is void if challenged in a timely manner. Present law requires that the conflicted commissioner's vote be challenged during the same meeting at which the vote was cast and prior to any further business by the legislative body.
Present law provides that:
(1) The above provisions do not prohibit a member of a local governing body of a county from voting on the budget, appropriation resolution, or tax rate resolution, or amendments thereto, unless the vote is on a specific amendment to the budget or a specific appropriation or resolution in which the member has a conflict of interest;
(2) A member of a local governing body of a county who abstains from voting for cause on any issue coming to a vote before the body will not be counted for the purpose of determining a majority vote. This provision does not apply in Davidson County;
(3) The legislative body of any metropolitan form of government or charter form of government may opt out of this section by resolution.
This bill removes the provision for voiding a vote if challenged based on conflict of interest. This bill maintains an explicit prohibition on a member of a county legislative body who is also an employee of the same county or whose spouse is an employee of the same county from voting on matters in which the member has a conflict of interest. This bill requires such a member to inform the legislative body of the county of the conflict immediately prior to the vote. In making the declaration, the member must abstain from voting on such matters.
Under this bill, a conflict of interest is created when a member of the county legislative body is voting on budgets, appropriation resolutions, transfer of money resolutions, tax rate resolutions, benefits, or amendments thereto, within the governing county entity or departmental entity of the county in which the legislative member or spouse is employed.
A member of a county legislative body who votes on matters in which such member has a conflict of interest or who fails to declare a conflict of interest will be subject to removal from office.
This bill deletes the present law exception for Davidson County (described above in (2)) and the opt out provisions for metropolitan and charter forms of government.

TLRC Position

We don't think this is strong enough but support any measure in that direction. We are not scoring but crediting the sponsors for leadership.

TLRC Observed Process

Failed in s/c Cities & Counties Subcommittee of Local Committee 2/26/2020
Representatives voting aye were: Grills, Wright — 2.
Representatives voting no were: Calfee, Crawford, Lamar, Travis — 4.
Representatives present and not voting were: Moon — 1.

No action in the senate.

Vote Result: Committee Only

Score: +5