The new ethics law

August 3, 2010 

Makes it a crime for statewide elected officials to use coercion or promises of preferential treatment to get contributions from people who do business with the state. State officials and employees would be banned from soliciting favors, services and job offers.

Makes it a felony to give more than $10,000 worth of contributions in the name of another. Also makes it a felony for a corporation to give more than $10,000 in contributions. Currently those offenses are misdemeanors.

Requires the State Board of Elections to create a database to allow campaign finance searches by location, occupation, employer, contributor or recipient.

Requires that an ethics statement be filed the year after an official leaves office.

Requires lobbyists to register only if they are paid for their work.

Makes the salary history and each promotion, suspension or demotion of a state or local employee a public record. Dismissal letters would also be public.

Requires that public records disputes be sent to a mediator before a lawsuit can be filed.

Allows for the recovery of legal fees by people who successfully sue the state over the improper withholding of public records.

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