Anti-Corruption Legislation Passes Virginia House and SenateFeb 18 | News
Richmond, VA – Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) and Delegate Michael Webert (R-Fauquier) announced their legislation to improve accountability, transparency, and oversight within the Warren County Economic Development Authority has passed the House and Senate.
“Transparency is a must for good governance,” Webert said, “and with these bills, House Bills 1527 & 1528, we will begin to restore the public faith in these institutions. These bills are a commonsense starting point for ensuring that these officials have a comprehensive understanding of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act and the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, this will require these members to file a Statement of Economic Interest annually. No more operating in the shadows. It’s time for some light and transparency.”
Also speaking to the legislation, Senator Mark Obenshain said, “These bills requiring EDA directors and members to take ethics training and submit an SOEI is a step in the right direction in ensuring government transparency and accountability. We want to do our best to try and prevent what we saw in Warren County from happening again – these bills attempt to do that. Our EDA’s solve complex solutions and bring crucial economic initiatives to our districts. The work they do are much needed shots in the arm to our communities’ economies. The citizens deserve our trust and confidence and these bills help ensure they will have it.”
In short, the Senate and House Bills do the following. They require the executive director and members of each industrial development authority and economic development authority to take training on the provisions of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (COIA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) at least once every two years. The bills also require these members to file a Statement of Economic Interests (SOEI) with the clerk of the local governing body as a condition to assuming office and thereafter annually on or before February 1. These provisions will ensure that there is more oversight and more transparency within these boards.