Heyl Royster

HB 1434 Would Restrict Elected Officials to Holding One Public Office

february 17, 2015

Representative Jack D. Franks (D-Woodstock) has introduced an amendment to the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act that would prohibit an elected official from holding more than one public office simultaneously. House Bill 1434 can be viewed here. The proposed amendment would apply regardless of whether the elected official received was compensated for the office or not.

The proposed amendment defines elected official as "any person who holds an office that is subject to election in accordance with the Election Code." It also defines public office as "an office to which a person is elected or appointed to discharge a public duty for the State or any of its political subdivisions and an office which is established and the qualifications and duties are prescribed by statute."

Currently, the ability of a current elected official to pursue appointment or election to another public office is determined by whether the offices are incompatible. The proposed bill would remove the interpretation on incompatability and prohibit the elected official from holding another simultaneous public office altogether. While there is merit in the concept of the amendment, it raises questions for communities that struggle to find citizens interested in serving on public boards. The bill also raises questions about the public body's ability to represent its interests on other boards. For example, as drafted, the bill would prohibit a City Council member from being the appointed to the City Zoning Board.

Heyl Royster will continue to track and report on the status of this bill. If your public body has questions about conflicting public offices under current law or the potential effect of HB 1434 if its enacted, please contact any of the attorneys in our Governmental Practice.

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