SENATE BILL 6118
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1998 Regular Session
By Senators Long and Spanel
Read first time 01/12/98. Referred to Committee on Government Operations.
AN ACT Relating to gifts under ethics in public service laws; and amending RCW 42.52.010 and 42.52.150.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. RCW 42.52.010 and 1996 c 213 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Agency" means any state board, commission, bureau, committee, department, institution, division, or tribunal in the legislative, executive, or judicial branch of state government. "Agency" includes all elective offices, the state legislature, those institutions of higher education created and supported by the state government, and those courts that are parts of state government.
(2) "Head of agency" means the chief executive officer of an agency. In the case of an agency headed by a commission, board, committee, or other body consisting of more than one natural person, agency head means the person or board authorized to appoint agency employees and regulate their conduct.
(3) "Assist" means to act, or offer or agree to act, in such a way as to help, aid, advise, furnish information to, or otherwise provide assistance to another person, believing that the action is of help, aid, advice, or assistance to the person and with intent so to assist such person.
(4) "Beneficial interest" has the meaning ascribed to it under the Washington case law. However, an ownership interest in a mutual fund or similar investment pooling fund in which the owner has no management powers does not constitute a beneficial interest in the entities in which the fund or pool invests.
(5) "Compensation" means anything of economic value, however designated, that is paid, loaned, granted, or transferred, or to be paid, loaned, granted, or transferred for, or in consideration of, personal services to any person.
(6) "Confidential information" means (a) specific information, rather than generalized knowledge, that is not available to the general public on request or (b) information made confidential by law.
(7) "Contract" or "grant" means an agreement between two or more persons that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing. "Contract" or "grant" includes, but is not limited to, an employment contract, a lease, a license, a purchase agreement, or a sales agreement.
(8) "Ethics boards" means the commission on judicial conduct, the legislative ethics board, and the executive ethics board.
(9) "Family" has the same meaning as "immediate family" in RCW 42.17.020.
(10) "Gift" means anything of economic value for which no consideration is given. "Gift" does not include:
(a) Items from family members or friends where it is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the gift was not made as part of any design to gain or maintain influence in the agency of which the recipient is an officer or employee;
(b) Items related to the outside business of the recipient that are customary and not related to the recipient's performance of official duties;
(c) Items exchanged among officials and employees or a social event hosted or sponsored by a state officer or state employee for coworkers;
(d) Payments by a governmental or nongovernmental entity of reasonable expenses incurred in connection with a speech, presentation, appearance, or trade mission made in an official capacity. As used in this subsection, "reasonable expenses" are limited to travel, lodging, and subsistence expenses incurred the day before through the day after the event;
(e) Items a state officer or state employee is authorized by law to accept;
Payment of enrollment and course fees and reasonable travel expenses
attributable to attending seminars and educational programs sponsored by a bona
fide governmental or nonprofit professional, educational, ((
trade (( association)), or charitable association or institution.
As used in this subsection, "reasonable expenses" are limited to
travel, lodging, and subsistence expenses incurred the day before through the
day after the event;
(g) Items returned by the recipient to the donor within thirty days of receipt or donated to a charitable organization within thirty days of receipt;
(h) Campaign contributions reported under chapter 42.17 RCW;
(i) Discounts available to an individual as a member of an employee group, occupation, or similar broad-based group; and
(j) Awards, prizes, scholarships, or other items provided in recognition of academic or scientific achievement.
(11) "Honorarium" means money or thing of value offered to a state officer or state employee for a speech, appearance, article, or similar item or activity in connection with the state officer's or state employee's official role.
(12) "Official duty" means those duties within the specific scope of employment of the state officer or state employee as defined by the officer's or employee's agency or by statute or the state Constitution.
(13) "Participate" means to participate in state action or a proceeding personally and substantially as a state officer or state employee, through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise but does not include preparation, consideration, or enactment of legislation or the performance of legislative duties.
(14) "Person" means any individual, partnership, association, corporation, firm, institution, or other entity, whether or not operated for profit.
(15) "Regulatory agency" means any state board, commission, department, or officer, except those in the legislative or judicial branches, authorized by law to conduct adjudicative proceedings, issue permits or licenses, or to control or affect interests of identified persons.
(16) "Responsibility" in connection with a transaction involving the state, means the direct administrative or operating authority, whether intermediate or final, and either exercisable alone or through subordinates, effectively to approve, disapprove, or otherwise direct state action in respect of such transaction.
(17) "State action" means any action on the part of an agency, including, but not limited to:
(a) A decision, determination, finding, ruling, or order; and
(b) A grant, payment, award, license, contract, transaction, sanction, or approval, or the denial thereof, or failure to act with respect to a decision, determination, finding, ruling, or order.
(18) "State officer" means every person holding a position of public trust in or under an executive, legislative, or judicial office of the state. "State officer" includes judges of the superior court, judges of the court of appeals, justices of the supreme court, members of the legislature together with the secretary of the senate and the chief clerk of the house of representatives, holders of elective offices in the executive branch of state government, chief executive officers of state agencies, members of boards, commissions, or committees with authority over one or more state agencies or institutions, and employees of the state who are engaged in supervisory, policy-making, or policy-enforcing work. For the purposes of this chapter, "state officer" also includes any person exercising or undertaking to exercise the powers or functions of a state officer.
(19) "State employee" means an individual who is employed by an agency in any branch of state government. For purposes of this chapter, employees of the superior courts are not state officers or state employees.
(20) "Thing of economic value," in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes:
(a) A loan, property interest, interest in a contract or other chose in action, and employment or another arrangement involving a right to compensation;
(b) An option, irrespective of the conditions to the exercise of the option; and
(c) A promise or undertaking for the present or future delivery or procurement.
(21)(a) "Transaction involving the state" means a proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, case, or other similar matter that the state officer, state employee, or former state officer or state employee in question believes, or has reason to believe:
(i) Is, or will be, the subject of state action; or
(ii) Is one to which the state is or will be a party; or
(iii) Is one in which the state has a direct and substantial proprietary interest.
(b) "Transaction involving the state" does not include the following: Preparation, consideration, or enactment of legislation, including appropriation of moneys in a budget, or the performance of legislative duties by an officer or employee; or a claim, case, lawsuit, or similar matter if the officer or employee did not participate in the underlying transaction involving the state that is the basis for the claim, case, or lawsuit.
Sec. 2. RCW 42.52.150 and 1994 c 154 s 115 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) No state officer or state employee may accept gifts, other than those specified in subsections (2) and (5) of this section, with an aggregate value in excess of fifty dollars from a single source in a calendar year or a single gift from multiple sources with a value in excess of fifty dollars. For purposes of this section, "single source" means any person, as defined in RCW 42.52.010, whether acting directly or through any agent or other intermediary, and "single gift" includes any event, item, or group of items used in conjunction with each other or any trip including transportation, lodging, and attendant costs, not excluded from the definition of gift under RCW 42.52.010. The value of gifts given to an officer's or employee's family member or guest shall be attributed to the official or employee for the purpose of determining whether the limit has been exceeded, unless an independent business, family, or social relationship exists between the donor and the family member or guest.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, the following items are presumed not to influence under RCW 42.52.140, and may be accepted without regard to the limit established by subsection (1) of this section:
(a) Unsolicited flowers, plants, and floral arrangements;
(b) Unsolicited advertising or promotional items of nominal value, such as pens and note pads;
(c) Unsolicited tokens or awards of appreciation in the form of a plaque, trophy, desk item, wall memento, or similar item;
(d) Unsolicited items received by a state officer or state employee for the purpose of evaluation or review, if the officer or employee has no personal beneficial interest in the eventual use or acquisition of the item by the officer's or employee's agency;
(e) Informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to the recipient's performance of official duties;
(f) Food and beverages consumed at hosted receptions where attendance is related to the state officer's or state employee's official duties;
(g) Admission to, and the cost of food and beverages consumed at, events sponsored by or in conjunction with a civic, charitable, governmental, or community organization; and
(h) Unsolicited gifts from dignitaries from another state or a foreign country that are intended to be personal in nature.
(3) The presumption in subsection (2) of this section is rebuttable and may be overcome based on the circumstances surrounding the giving and acceptance of the item.
(4) Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (5) of this section, a state officer or state employee of a regulatory agency or of an agency that seeks to acquire goods or services who participates in those regulatory or contractual matters may receive, accept, take, or seek, directly or indirectly, only the following items from a person regulated by the agency or from a person who seeks to provide goods or services to the agency:
(a) Unsolicited advertising or promotional items of nominal value, such as pens and note pads;
(b) Unsolicited tokens or awards of appreciation in the form of a plaque, trophy, desk item, wall memento, or similar item;
(c) Unsolicited items received by a state officer or state employee for the purpose of evaluation or review, if the officer or employee has no personal beneficial interest in the eventual use or acquisition of the item by the officer's or employee's agency;
(d) Informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to the recipient's performance of official duties;
(e) Food and beverages consumed at hosted receptions where attendance is related to the state officer's or state employee's official duties;
(f) Admission to, and the cost of food and beverages consumed at, events sponsored by or in conjunction with a civic, charitable, governmental, or community organization; and
(g) Those items excluded from the definition of gift in RCW 42.52.010 except:
(i) Payments by a governmental or nongovernmental entity of reasonable expenses incurred in connection with a speech, presentation, appearance, or trade mission made in an official capacity;
Payments for seminars and educational programs sponsored by a bona fide governmental
or nonprofit professional, educational, ((
or)) trade (( association)),
or charitable association or institution; and
(iii) Flowers, plants, and floral arrangements.
(5) A state officer or state employee may accept gifts in the form of food and beverage on infrequent occasions in the ordinary course of meals where attendance by the officer or employee is related to the performance of official duties. Gifts in the form of food and beverage that exceed fifty dollars on a single occasion shall be reported as provided in chapter 42.17 RCW.
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