MD Governor Wants to Tighten Ethics Rules

Jan 20, 2017

Credit governor's office

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's governor is asking people nominated to fill General Assembly vacancies to undergo background checks before taking their seats.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Gov. Larry Hogan's spokesman, Doug Mayer, says the requests are voluntary. The requests come after recent announcements of criminal cases linked to former and prospective lawmakers. The Attorney General's Office advised House Speaker Michael Busch on Wednesday that the governor can ask for background checks, but can't require them.

Baltimore Del. Cheryl Glenn, a Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, says she learned of the requests when she asked about inviting Baltimore's Nick Mosby and Montgomery County's Jheanelle Wilkins to the caucus' annual breakfast with Hogan. Both were nominated recently and say they haven't been told when they will be sworn in.

Hogan Proposes Law

Cciting fraud and bribery scandals allegedly involving state and local officials, Hogan has proposed broad reforms that target conflicts of interest and corruption.

Maryland State Capitol
Credit creative commons

The Republican governor announced his Integrity in Government Initiative Thursday afternoon in front of the statehouse.

Hogan's proposals include barring legislators from pushing legislation that directly benefits their employer or business, and prohibiting executive branch and legislative staff from lobbying for one year after they leave state service.

The governor also wants all meetings of the General Assembly be livestreamed, and his proposed 2018 budget includes funds to do that.