2020 Tennessee Code
Title 3 - Legislature
Chapter 6 - Ethics and Lobbying
Part 1 - Tennessee Ethics Commission Act of 2006 — Ethics Commission
§ 3-6-103. Creation — Composition — Staff — Selection of Members — Terms — Meetings

Universal Citation: TN Code § 3-6-103 (2020)
    1. There is created as a division of the bureau of ethics and campaign finance, as provided in title 4, chapter 55, a Tennessee ethics commission. The commission shall be composed of six (6) members appointed as provided in this section.
      1. Appointments shall be made to reflect the broadest possible representation of Tennessee citizens. Of the six (6) members appointed, at least one (1) shall be a female member and one (1) shall be an African-American member. However, an African-American female member shall not satisfy the requirement of one (1) female member and one (1) African-American member. Each member shall:
        1. Have been a legal resident of this state for five (5) years immediately preceding selection;
        2. Be at least thirty (30) years of age;
        3. Be a registered voter in Tennessee;
        4. Be a person of high ethical standards who has an active interest in promoting ethics in government; and
        5. Not have been convicted of a felony.
      2. No person shall be appointed to the commission if the person, or any member of the person's immediate family as defined in § 3-6-301, is announced as a candidate for public office, holds public office, or is a member of a political party's state executive committee.
  1. The members of the ethics commission shall also serve as members of the board of directors of the bureau of ethics and campaign finance.
    1. The members of the Tennessee ethics commission shall be selected as follows:
      1. The governor shall appoint one (1) member who is a member of the majority party and one (1) member who is a member of the minority party;
      2. The speaker of the senate shall appoint one (1) candidate from a list of three (3) candidates submitted by the majority caucus of the senate and one (1) candidate from a list of three (3) candidates submitted by the minority caucus of the senate. The speaker of the senate may request a second list of candidates; however, no candidate from the original list of candidates may appear on the second list of candidates; and
      3. The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint one (1) candidate from a list of three (3) candidates submitted by the majority caucus of the house of representatives and one (1) candidate from a list of three (3) candidates submitted by the minority caucus of the house of representatives. The speaker of the house of representatives may request a second list of candidates; however, no candidate from the original list of candidates may appear on the second list of candidates.
    2. Each gubernatorial appointee shall be subject to confirmation by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of approval by each house of the general assembly and each legislative appointee shall be subject to confirmation by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of approval by the appointing authority's house. If the general assembly is in session when an appointment is made, then the appointment shall be subject to confirmation within ninety (90) days of appointment. If the general assembly is not in session when an appointment is made, the appointment shall be subject to confirmation within ninety (90) days after the general assembly next convenes following the appointment. If an appointee is refused confirmation, or is not confirmed during the ninety-day period, then the appointing authority of the appointee shall select another appointee for confirmation subject to the requirements of this section. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the vacating member's office was originally filled. Notwithstanding this subdivision (c)(2), an appointment to serve on the initial commission shall be made by April 1, 2006.
    1. The initial members' terms of office shall commence upon appointment. For purposes of calculating the initial terms of the members' offices, the initial appointments shall be deemed to be made on January 1, 2007. The initial members' terms shall be staggered as follows:
      1. The gubernatorial appointees shall serve initial terms of two (2) years;
      2. The senate appointees shall serve initial terms of three (3) years; and
      3. The house of representatives appointees shall serve initial terms of four (4) years.
    2. After the initial terms, members of the commission shall serve four-year terms.
  2. The initial chair of the commission shall be appointed by the governor. Every year thereafter the commission shall elect a chair from among its membership. The chair shall serve in that capacity for one (1) year and shall be eligible for reelection. The chair shall preside at all meetings and shall have all the powers and privileges of the other members.
  3. The commission shall fix the place and time of its regular meetings by order duly recorded in its minutes. Four (4) members of the commission shall constitute a quorum. Except as provided in § 3-6-201, four (4) affirmative votes are required for any commission action. Special meetings shall be called by the chair on the chair's initiative or upon the written request of three (3) members. Members shall receive written notice three (3) days in advance of a special meeting. Notice shall be served personally or left at a member's usual place of residence and shall specify the purpose, time and place of the meeting. No matters unrelated to the specified purpose may be considered without a specific waiver by all members of the commission.
  4. The members of the commission shall receive no compensation; provided, that each member of the commission shall be eligible for reimbursement of expenses and mileage in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the commissioner of finance and administration and approved by the attorney general and reporter.
  5. No member of the commission or the member's immediate family, as defined in § 3-6-301, shall during such membership:
    1. Be allowed to hold or qualify for elective office to any state or local public office, as defined in § 2-10-102;
    2. Be an employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state;
    3. Be an officer of any political party or political committee;
    4. Permit such person's name to be used or make campaign contributions in support of or in opposition to any candidate or proposition, except that a member's immediate family may make campaign contributions in support of or in opposition to any candidate or proposition;
    5. Participate in any way in any election campaign;
    6. Lobby or employ a lobbyist; or
    7. Be employed by any elected officeholder, either in an official capacity or as an individual, or be employed by any business in which an elected officeholder has any direct input concerning employment decisions.
  6. An incumbent member of the commission may seek votes for confirmation of the member's appointment to the commission; provided, that the member shall comply with the provisions of subsection (h).
  7. Subsection (h) shall be applicable for one (1) year subsequent to the removal, vacancy or termination of the term of office of a member of the commission.
    1. Each member of the commission shall, before they proceed to business, take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of this state and of the United States and the laws of this state and also the following oath: I  do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this commission, I will, in all matters, vote without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice; and that I will not propose or assent to any action, measure, or resolution which shall appear to me to be contrary to law.
    2. Unless otherwise provided by law, any member of the commission who violates the oath of office for the member's position or participates in any of the activities prohibited by this chapter commits a Class A misdemeanor. If a sworn complaint is made pursuant to § 3-6-209 that a member has violated the oath of office for the position, has participated in any of the activities prohibited by this chapter, or has committed actions inconsistent with the intent of the Comprehensive Governmental Ethics Reform Act of 2006, Acts 2006, ch. 1 of the extraordinary session of the 104th general assembly, then, upon a unanimous vote of the remaining members, the member against whom the sworn allegation is made may be suspended from the commission for such purposes and for such times as the remaining members shall unanimously determine; but no such suspension shall extend beyond final disposition of the sworn complaint pursuant to § 3-6-209. The accused member shall not participate in the suspension vote.
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