Reference Number: 
CTAS-162

The issue of ethics in state and local government has dominated the news media in Tennessee over the past several years.  A number of scandals involving elected officials inspired a new prohibition on “consulting fees” for government officials in 2005 and eventually led to an extraordinary session of the General Assembly at the beginning of 2006 to deal with the topic of ethics.  During that session, the General Assembly passed the “Comprehensive Governmental Ethics Reform Act of 2006” (the Ethics Reform Act).  This wide-ranging act created a new State Ethics Commission, established substantial new registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists and their employers, and enacted new provisions to set limits on gifts and require disclosure of conflicts of interest for certain state officials.  The law also included a requirement for local governments to adopt ethics policies covering the disclosure of gifts accepted by officials and employees and the disclosure of conflicts of interest.  In addition to the Ethics Reform Act, there are other state laws which address ethics and conflicts of interests in county government