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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ethics Code

I first submitted this ethics code as part of an article in the Lebanon Democrat in 2006. I posted it on my blog soon after the blog was created. I developed the code during the Special Session on Ethics based on our oath of office and by studing ethics codes for other professions.

It is surprising that the General Assembly does not agree on a general code of ethics from year to year. Perhaps, it is about time that we do.

Ethics Code

A legislator is a public servant working to protect the rights of the citizens and to clarify rights and laws for the common good.

We hold that there is certain behavior that the legislative branch should not engage in.

It is clear and uncontroversial that legislators should;

Uphold the Constitutions of the state of Tennessee and the United States of America and make no law to the contrary to either.

Abide by all laws of the state of Tennessee and the United States of America.

Vote without affection, favor, partiality, or prejudice.

Vote for no law injurious to the people.

Not lessen or abridge the rights and privileges of the people.

Not seek to profit from their position.

Not employ intimidation, threat or coercion for personal, financial or political gain.

Report illegal behavior of other legislators or others.

Not use the resources of the state for personal use.

Not accept gifts given due to their position or for the performance of their duties.

Contributions to campaigns should be accepted with the understanding between both parties that they procure no influence, nor promise of any vote, service or favor.

When involved in the important act of forging consensus, policy makers should commit to screen all information through their own values, convictions, and principles; employing the virtues of honesty and integrity, and should reject the influence of all conflicts of interest by using their core values as a template to place over the decisions that they face.

Legislators should not therefore perform any task or deed in direct conflict with conscience or contrary to the best interest of their constituency or the state.

This code is a proposed list of general expectations for those in a positioin of public trust but it is by no means all encompassing. Laws may certainly be derived from this list for legislators to abide by.

Let us all remember, it is always good to have a healthy skepticism of our government and public officials.



Cyndie Todd said...

Do ethics change from year to year?

... said...

Dear Cyndie,

Great question! Rules are not law but they have the effect of law. All rules must be reauthorized every year by the General Assembly. This is so that we are assured that all rules are still relevant and up to date.

If the General Assembly passed such a code for ourselves it would be rule and would therefore need to be reauthorized every year.

Anonymous said...

I want to be a senator, i want to serve the people of America and take care of the people that i would represent. your code of ethics has been really inspiring to me. To become a senator has been my ambition since i was six

who do I talk to in order make this dream come true?
what do i have to do and how do i do it all i want is a starting point =D and maybe some motivation