Georgia Lawmakers Pass New DeKalb Ethics Bill


On the final day of the Georgia legislative session June 26, lawmakers passed a new proposal to the DeKalb County ethics laws, one hopeful for voter approval in November.

The ethics board has been dormant and unable to make recommendations on complaints received since August 2018 when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the board was unconstitutional due to its members being appointed by non-elected entities.

During the November 2019 election, 61 percent of DeKalb voters turned down a proposed ethics reform bill, Senate Bill 7, which would have allowed the ethics board to consist of two members appointed by the county’s House delegation; two members appointed by the county’s Senate delegation; one member appointed by the county CEO with majority confirmation of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners; one appointment by the chief superior court judge; and one by the probate court judge. SB 7 also attempted to replace the ethics officer with an ethics administrator who has fewer duties and would have required county employees to first file complaints through the county’s human resources department for remedy.

Several versions of an ethics reform bill were heard during this year’s legislative session, following DeKalb citizens speaking at public meetings in favor of a ‘simple fix’ to the ethics code, only changing the appointment process of the ethics board.