VERMONT ADOPTS STATEWIDE CODE OF ETHICS
On May 3, 2022, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill that establishes a code of ethics in Vermont. Senate Bill 171 establishes baseline ethics rules for public officials in state government. It sets boundaries around conflicts-of-interest, preferential treatment, gifts, outside employment, the use of state employment for personal gain, among other provisions. It also protects whistleblowers from retaliation. Before the bill passed, Vermont was one of only five states without a statewide code of ethics for officials.
Notably, under the new law, public servants may not accept gifts outside of an applicable exception. Exceptions include de minimis gifts, food and beverage under certain circumstances, educational materials, ceremonial awards, gifts to the state, attendance to widely attended events, and a handful of others.
The law takes effect July 1, 2022.
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