State Agencies Mostly Keeping Existing Ethics Rules To Comply With New Law

Jun 11, 2015

Many agencies already had their own rules and are now simply complying with ethics reform legislation passed earlier this year.
Credit Indiana Department of Administration

Changes to Indiana’s ethics statutes passed by the legislature this year are prompting state agencies to officially adopt policies about employees using state property for personal use.  But very little will actually change.

The legislation approved by the General Assembly requires the State Ethics Commission to approve all state agencies’ policies barring employees from using state property for personal use.  But as Ethics Director Jen Cooper told the commission at its meeting Thursday, agencies already had those rules in place.

“So they all had something basically on file but as of July 1, because those weren’t approved by you, they’re not going to be effective anymore,” Cooper says.

In order to help agencies comply with the new law, the Ethics Commission developed a model policy, language that puts in place rules that exist under the new state law.  The vast majority – more than 70 agencies – opted to simply adopt that model. 

Only a few wanted to add on to the model policy – for example, the Department of Administration created a small exception saying that employees can keep state vehicles home overnight if their official business lasted too long to return the vehicle that same day.  But those additions – approved by the Ethics Commission – codify existing practices.