Lawmakers reject uniform financial disclosures
Lawmakers killed a bill Wednesday that would have made all elected officials in Utah use a uniform financial and conflict-of-interest disclosure form, and have them available on one state website.
The House Government Operations Committee voted 5-3 to reject HB341 by Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, after opposition by the Utah Association of Counties, the Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Lieutenant Governor's Office.
Opponents said cities, towns and counties already have their own requirements and forms for financial disclosure. They argued most Utahns seeking them would go to those local governments instead of a state website anyway. The Lieutenant Governor's Office warned the number of such forms it would handle would skyrocket from 400 to perhaps 9,000 and require hiring an additional employee.
But Sumsion, who is running for governor, said the quality of disclosures varies greatly in the state. He said he has received complaints that they often do not clearly show financial interests that could be conflicts of interest. His proposal would have had all officials fill out the same forms used now by legislators and other state officials, and have them on one website for easier searching.
He said Utahns need to clearly "understand when a local elected official has an investment interest in a direct decision or ordinance that they are passing."