Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Code of Ethics

Ethical Requirements For Legislators

2-2-112. Ethical requirements for legislators. (1) The requirements in this section are intended as rules for legislator conduct, and violations constitute a breach of the public trust of legislative office.

(2) A legislator has a responsibility to the legislator's constituents to participate in all matters as required in the rules of the legislature. A legislator concerned with the possibility of a conflict may briefly present the facts to the committee of that house that is assigned the determination of ethical issues. The committee shall advise the legislator as to whether the legislator should disclose the interest prior to voting on the issue pursuant to the provisions of subsection (5). The legislator may, subject to legislative rule, vote on an issue on which the legislator has a conflict, after disclosing the interest.

(3) When a legislator is required to take official action on a legislative matter as to which the legislator has a conflict created by a personal or private interest that would directly give rise to an appearance of impropriety as to the legislator's influence, benefit, or detriment in regard to the legislative matter, the legislator shall disclose the interest creating the conflict prior to participating in the official action, as provided in subsections (2) and (5) and the rules of the legislature. In making a decision, the legislator shall consider:

(a) whether the conflict impedes the legislator's independence of judgment;

(b) the effect of the legislator's participation on public confidence in the integrity of the legislature;

(c) whether the legislator's participation is likely to have any significant effect on the disposition of the matter; and

(d) whether a pecuniary interest is involved or whether a potential occupational, personal, or family benefit could arise from the legislator's participation.

(4) A conflict situation does not arise from legislation or legislative duties affecting the membership of a profession, occupation, or class.

(5) A legislator shall disclose an interest creating a conflict, as provided in the rules of the legislature. A legislator who is a member of a profession, occupation, or class affected by legislation is not required to disclose an interest unless the class contained in the legislation is so narrow that the vote will have a direct and distinctive personal impact on the legislator. A legislator may seek a determination from the appropriate committee provided for in 2-2-135.

History: En. 59-1708 by Sec. 8, Ch. 569, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 59-1708; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 562, L. 1995.