policy

Policy

City law requires the Ethics Commission to evaluate the effectiveness of its laws. This is done on a regular basis through internally generated policy reviews. It also occurs on an ad hoc basis when distinct issues are of interest to the Ethics Commission members, such as when the City Council asks for an evaluation of a particular law or when an amendment to City law is required to reflect changes in state or federal law.

CURRENT REVIEWS

Campaign Finance Review

On February 19, 2019, the Ethics Commission completed its ten-month long review of developer contributions and behested payments by unanimously recommending a landmark set of reforms. The Ethics Commission recommended a ban on contributions from all non-individuals and from individuals who are developers. The recommended ban includes a prohibition on fundraising and bundling, and it applies to any committee controlled by an elected City officeholder or candidate.

The Ethics Commission also recommended a set of new regulations regarding payments that an elected official asks a person to make to third parties. These “behested payments” must be disclosed under state law. The Ethics Commission’s recommendations include prohibiting elected officials from soliciting behested payments from persons who have business with the city, lowering the disclosure threshold from $5,000 to $1,000, and requiring elected officials to disclose whether a person who makes a behested payment is a lobbying entity, a bidder, a contractor, or a person involved in a discretionary land use application.

Also on February 19, the Ethics Commission voted unanimously to improve the accessibility of the matching funds program by lowering the amount of contributions a City candidate must receive to qualify for public funds. The Ethics Commission also voted to promote candidate engagement with the public by clarifying the debate and town hall qualification requirement.

The staff reports for these policy issues can be found in Item 6 and Item 7 of the February meeting agenda.

The Ethics Commission’s recommendations have been transmitted to City Council, where they must be adopted to become effective. You may follow the status of the recommendations by visiting Council Files No. 19-0046 and No. 12-1269-S5 through LA City Clerk Connect.

PROCESS

The review process involves public input, research, data analysis, and internal staff discussions. Based on all of that information, the staff makes initial determinations about what recommendations, if any, to present to the Ethics Commission members. Some reviews address limited issues, and others involve a comprehensive review of an entire ordinance, which can take months or years to complete.

The Ethics Commission members consider policy recommendations at public meetings and must vote to approve, modify, or reject them. The Ethics Commission cannot amend City ordinances, so any approved recommendation that would amend an ordinance must be forwarded to the City Council for action. The Ethics Commission can adopt formal policies that interpret existing ordinances, and those are effective upon approval.

Additional details about the legislative review process are depicted in The Path of Policy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • How can I find out what happened with a legislative proposal that the Ethics Commission made to the City Council?

    Every meeting agenda includes a policy update, which tracks the status of the Ethics Commission’s legislative proposals. The updates identify the council file number of each proposal, which can be used to obtain additional information through the City Clerk’s council file index.

  • What will your next policy review be about?

    The policy update that is included in every meeting agenda also identifies a tentative schedule of upcoming policy projects. This “horizon snapshot” is fluid and can change at any time, but it does identify intended time lines as of the day the snapshot is created.

  • I provided comments during a review, but I don’t see my comments in the staff recommendations. Why not?

    Public comments are an extremely valuable part of the review process. However, there are typically many different views about issues, which means that not everyone’s ideas can be included. The staff assesses all input, as well as their own experiences in administering the laws and what they discover through data analysis. They then make an initial determination about how to best promote equity, transparency, and accountability. Whether they are incorporated into the staff recommendations or not, all written comments are provided to the Ethics Commission members, to help inform their decisions. You are also welcome to attend Ethics Commission meetings to verbally enter your comments into the record.

  • I would rather not put my comments in writing. Can I talk to someone instead?

    Yes. Written comments are valuable because they precisely communicate your perspectives. However, the Ethics Commission staff is happy to talk with anyone who would like to provide input, and verbal comments are considered along with written comments. Please contact us to speak with a staff member.

  • Can I provide comments anonymously?

    Yes.

PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

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CURRENT REVIEWS

Campaign Finance Review

On February 19, 2019, the Ethics Commission completed its ten-month long review of developer contributions and behested payments by unanimously recommending a landmark set of reforms. The Ethics Commission recommended a ban on contributions from all non-individuals and from individuals who are developers. The recommended ban includes a prohibition on fundraising and bundling, and it applies to any committee controlled by an elected City officeholder or candidate.

The Ethics Commission also recommended a set of new regulations regarding payments that an elected official asks a person to make to third parties. These “behested payments” must be disclosed under state law. The Ethics Commission’s recommendations include prohibiting elected officials from soliciting behested payments from persons who have business with the city, lowering the disclosure threshold from $5,000 to $1,000, and requiring elected officials to disclose whether a person who makes a behested payment is a lobbying entity, a bidder, a contractor, or a person involved in a discretionary land use application.

Also on February 19, the Ethics Commission voted unanimously to improve the accessibility of the matching funds program by lowering the amount of contributions a City candidate must receive to qualify for public funds. The Ethics Commission also voted to promote candidate engagement with the public by clarifying the debate and town hall qualification requirement.

The staff reports for these policy issues can be found in Item 6 and Item 7 of the February meeting agenda.

The Ethics Commission’s recommendations have been transmitted to City Council, where they must be adopted to become effective. You may follow the status of the recommendations by visiting Council Files No. 19-0046 and No. 12-1269-S5 through LA City Clerk Connect.

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PROCESS

The review process involves public input, research, data analysis, and internal staff discussions. Based on all of that information, the staff makes initial determinations about what recommendations, if any, to present to the Ethics Commission members. Some reviews address limited issues, and others involve a comprehensive review of an entire ordinance, which can take months or years to complete.

The Ethics Commission members consider policy recommendations at public meetings and must vote to approve, modify, or reject them. The Ethics Commission cannot amend City ordinances, so any approved recommendation that would amend an ordinance must be forwarded to the City Council for action. The Ethics Commission can adopt formal policies that interpret existing ordinances, and those are effective upon approval.

Additional details about the legislative review process are depicted in The Path of Policy.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • How can I find out what happened with a legislative proposal that the Ethics Commission made to the City Council?

    Every meeting agenda includes a policy update, which tracks the status of the Ethics Commission’s legislative proposals. The updates identify the council file number of each proposal, which can be used to obtain additional information through the City Clerk’s council file index.

  • What will your next policy review be about?

    The policy update that is included in every meeting agenda also identifies a tentative schedule of upcoming policy projects. This “horizon snapshot” is fluid and can change at any time, but it does identify intended time lines as of the day the snapshot is created.

  • I provided comments during a review, but I don’t see my comments in the staff recommendations. Why not?

    Public comments are an extremely valuable part of the review process. However, there are typically many different views about issues, which means that not everyone’s ideas can be included. The staff assesses all input, as well as their own experiences in administering the laws and what they discover through data analysis. They then make an initial determination about how to best promote equity, transparency, and accountability. Whether they are incorporated into the staff recommendations or not, all written comments are provided to the Ethics Commission members, to help inform their decisions. You are also welcome to attend Ethics Commission meetings to verbally enter your comments into the record.

  • I would rather not put my comments in writing. Can I talk to someone instead?

    Yes. Written comments are valuable because they precisely communicate your perspectives. However, the Ethics Commission staff is happy to talk with anyone who would like to provide input, and verbal comments are considered along with written comments. Please contact us to speak with a staff member.

  • Can I provide comments anonymously?

    Yes.

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PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

Search Former Website: Campaign | Lobbying

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