Title 42. Public Officers and Employees
Chapter 15. Code of Governmental Ethics
Part I. General Provisions
Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following words and terms, when used in this Chapter, shall have the following meanings:
(1) “Action of a governmental entity” means any action on the part of a governmental entity or agency thereof including, but not limited to:
(a) Any decision, determination, finding, ruling, or order, including the judgment or verdict of a court or a quasi-judicial board, in which the governmental entity or any of its agencies has an interest, except in such matters involving criminal prosecutions.
(b) Any grant, payment, award, license, contract, transaction, decision, sanction, or approval, or the denial thereof, or the failure to act with respect thereto; and in which the governmental entity or any of its agencies has an interest, except in matters involving criminal prosecutions.
(c) As the term relates to a public servant of the state, any disposition of any matter by the legislature or any committee thereof; and as the term relates to a public servant of a political subdivision, any disposition of any matter by the governing authority or any committee thereof.
(2)(a) “Agency” means a department, office, division, agency, commission, board, committee, or other organizational unit of a governmental entity. For purposes of this Chapter, “agency of the public servant” and “his agency” when used in reference to the agency of a public servant shall mean:
(i) For public servants in the twenty principal departments of the executive branch of state government, the office in which such public servant carries out his primary responsibilities; except that in the case of the secretary, deputy secretary, or undersecretary of any such department and officials carrying out the responsibilities of such department officers it shall mean the department in which he serves; and except that in the case of public servants who are members or employees of a board or commission or who provide staff assistance to a board or commission, it shall mean the board or commission.
(ii) For the governor and lieutenant governor, it shall mean the executive branch of state government.
(iii) For public servants in the office of the governor or the lieutenant governor it shall mean their respective offices.
(iv) For public servants in the legislative branch of state government, it shall mean the agency or house of the legislature by which a public employee is employed and the legislative branch in the case of legislators.
(v) For public employees, except judges, of the supreme court, courts of appeal, district courts, and other courts authorized by Article V of the Constitution of 1974, it shall mean the court in which the public employee serves and any other court in which decisions of that court may be reviewed.
(vi) For public servants of political subdivisions, it shall mean the agency in which the public servant serves, except that for members of any governing authority and for the elected or appointed chief executive of a governmental entity, it shall mean the governmental entity. Public servants of political subdivisions shall include, but shall not be limited to, elected officials and public employees of municipalities, parishes, and other political subdivisions; sheriffs and their employees; district attorneys and their employees; coroners and their employees; and clerks of court and their employees.
(b) The board may adopt rules and regulations to provide for the application of this definition.
(3) “Agency head” means the chief executive or administrative officer of an agency or any member of a board or commission who exercises supervision over the agency.
(4) “Assist” means to act in such a way as to help, advise, furnish information to, or aid a person with the intent to assist such person.
(5) “Board” means the Board of Ethics.
(6) Repealed by Acts 1996, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 64, § 10, eff. Jan. 1, 1997.
(7) “Compensation” means any thing of economic value which is paid, loaned, granted, given, donated, or transferred or to be paid, loaned, granted, given, donated, or transferred for or in consideration of personal services to any person.
(8) “Controlling interest” means any ownership in any legal entity or beneficial interest in a trust, held by or on behalf of an individual or a member of his immediate family, either individually or collectively, which exceeds twenty-five percent of that legal entity.
(9) “Elected official” means any person holding an office in a governmental entity which is filled by the vote of the appropriate electorate. It shall also include any person appointed to fill a vacancy in such offices.
(10) “Ethics body” means the Board of Ethics.
(11) “Governing authority” means the body which exercises the legislative functions of a political subdivision.
(12) “Governmental entity” means the state or any political subdivision which employs the public employee or employed the former public employee or to which the elected official is elected, as the case may be.
(13) “Immediate family” as the term relates to a public servant means his children, the spouses of his children, his brothers and their spouses, his sisters and their spouses, his parents, his spouse, and the parents of his spouse.
(14) “Legislator” means any person holding office in the Senate or the House of Representatives of the Louisiana Legislature which is filled by the vote of the appropriate electorate.
(15) “Participate” means to take part in or to have or share responsibility for action of a governmental entity or a proceeding, personally, as a public servant of the governmental entity, through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or the failure to act or perform a duty.
(16) “Person” means an individual or legal entity other than a governmental entity, or an agency thereof.
(17) “Political subdivision” means any unit of local government, including a special district, authorized by law to perform governmental functions.
(18)(a) “Public employee” means anyone, whether compensated or not, who is:
(i) An administrative officer or official of a governmental entity who is not filling an elective office.
(ii) Appointed by any elected official when acting in an official capacity, and the appointment is to a post or position wherein the appointee is to serve the governmental entity or an agency thereof, either as a member of an agency, or as an employee thereof.
(iii) Engaged in the performance of a governmental function.
(iv) Under the supervision or authority of an elected official or another employee of the governmental entity.
(b) However, “public employee” shall not mean a person whose public service is limited to the following:
(i) Periodic duty in the National Guard pursuant to 32 U.S.C. 502.
(ii) A contract to provide attest services as a certified public accountant.
(iii) Volunteering as described in R.S. 29:735.3.1(A).
(c) A public employee shall be in such status on days on which he performs no services as well as days on which he performs services. The termination of any particular term of employment of a public employee shall take effect on the day the termination is clearly evidenced.
(19) “Public servant” means a public employee or an elected official.
(19.1) “Regulatory employee” means a public employee who performs the function of regulating, monitoring, or enforcing regulations of any agency.
(20) “Responsibility” in connection with a transaction involving a governmental entity means the direct administration or operating authority, whether intermediate or final, and either exercisable alone or with others, and either personally or through or with others or subordinates, to effectively direct action of the governmental entity, as the case may be, in respect to such transaction.
(20.1) “Service” means the performance of work, duties, or responsibilities, or the leasing, rental, or sale of movable or immovable property.
(21) “Substantial economic interest” means an economic interest which is of greater benefit to the public servant or other person than to a general class or group of persons, except:
(a) The interest that the public servant has in his position, office, rank, salary, per diem, or other matter arising solely from his public employment or office.
(b) The interest that an elected official who is elected to a house, body, or authority has in a position or office of such house, body, or authority which is required to be filled by a member of such house, body, or authority by law, legislative rule, or home rule charter.
(c) The interest that a person has as a member of the general public.
(22)(a) “Thing of economic value” means money or any other thing having economic value, except promotional items having no substantial resale value; pharmaceutical samples, medical devices, medical foods, and infant formulas in compliance with the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 USC 301 et seq., provided to a physician, health care professional, or appropriate public employee for the administration or dispensation to a patient at no cost to the patient; food, drink, or refreshments consumed by a public servant, including reasonable transportation and entertainment incidental thereto, while the personal guest of some person, and, with reference to legislators and employees in the legislative branch of state government only, reasonable transportation when organized primarily for educational or informational purposes, including food and drink incidental thereto, and includes but is not limited to:
(i) Any loan, except a bona fide loan made by a duly licensed lending institution at the normal rate of interest, any property interest, interest in a contract, merchandise, service, and any employment or other arrangement involving a right to compensation.
(ii) Any option to obtain a thing of economic value, irrespective of the conditions to the exercise of such option.
(iii) Any promise or undertaking for the present or future delivery or procurement of a thing of economic value.
(b) In the case of an option, promise, or undertaking, the time of receipt of the thing of economic value shall be deemed to be, respectively, the time the right to the option becomes fixed, regardless of the conditions to its exercise, and the time when the promise or undertaking is made, regardless of the conditions to its performance.
(c) Things of economic value shall not include salary and related benefits of the public employee due to his public employment or salary and other emoluments of the office held by the elected official. Salary and related benefits of public employees of higher education institutions, boards, or systems shall include any supplementary compensation, use of property, or other benefits provided to such employees from funds or property accruing to the benefit of the institution, board, or system, as approved by the appropriate policy or management board, from an alumni organization recognized by the management board of a college or university within the state or from a foundation organized by the alumni or other supportive individuals of a college or university within the state the charter of which specifically provides that the purpose of the foundation is to aid said college or university in a philanthropic manner.
(d)(i) With reference to legislators and employees in the legislative branch of state government only, and for purposes of this Section, “reasonable transportation”, when organized primarily for educational or for informational purposes, including on-site inspections, shall include transportation to any point within the boundaries of this state, including the territorial waters thereof, and to any offshore structure located on the outer continental shelf seaward of such territorial waters and offshore of Louisiana. With reference to employees in the legislative branch of state government, such transportation shall only be for official legislative purposes and shall have prior approval from the presiding officer of the respective house wherein such legislative employee is employed.
(ii) With references to legislators only, “reasonable transportation”, when organized primarily for entertainment purposes incidental to food, drink, or refreshments, shall include transportation to any point within this state that is within a fifty-mile radius of the perimeter of the legislator’s district, or within a fifty-mile radius of the perimeter of the parish wherein the state capitol is located if the legislator is conducting official business in said parish.
(23) “Transaction involving the governmental entity” means any proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, case, or other such particular matter which the public servant or former public servant of the governmental entity in question knows or should know:
(a) Is, or will be, the subject of action by the governmental entity.
(b) Is one to which the governmental entity is or will be a party.
(c) Is one in which the governmental entity has a direct interest. A transaction involving the agency of a governmental entity shall have the same meaning with respect to the agency.
Acts 1979, No. 443, § 1, eff. April 1, 1980. Amended by Acts 1980, No. 838, § 1; Acts 1983, No. 403, § 1; Acts 1985, No. 491, § 1; Acts 1986, No. 359, § 1; Acts 1988, No. 144, § 1; Acts 1990, No. 687, § 1, eff. July 20, 1990; Acts 1996, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 64, § 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1997; Acts 1998, 1st Ex.Sess., No. 163, § 1; Acts 1999, No. 418, § 1; Acts 1999, No. 851, § 1; Acts 1999, No. 1204, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2006, No. 408, § 1; Acts 2006, No. 496, § 1, eff. June 22, 2006; Acts 2008, No. 609, § 1, eff. June 30, 2008; Acts 2013, No. 413, § 1, eff. June 21, 2013; Acts 2018, No. 548, § 4.