OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor this week signed into law a bill that will put into place a code of ethics for members of the state Pardon and Parole Board.
House Bill 2773 by Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, requires members of the Pardon and Parole Board to uphold and promote the independence, impartiality, fairness, and integrity of the board and to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety. A member of the board who determines that circumstances would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of all the relevant facts to question the board members impartiality must disclose any potential conflict of interest and withdraw from participation in the matter.
“This puts the judicial code of ethics in place for members of the Pardon and Parole Board,” Pfeiffer said. “These are the same standards our judges must meet, and we feel the members of this board could benefit from having these clear guidelines as well. This should help with any matters such as conflicts of interest or any other confusion in the future.”
Pfeiffer said the language of the bill was agreed upon by the District Attorneys Council and the governor’s office. He said the bill was not a reaction to any specific action or decision of the board but was something he and other lawmakers felt should be addressed.
Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, carried the legislation in the Senate.
“The work of the Pardon and Parole Board is fundamental to Oklahoma’s criminal justice system,” Weaver said. “I was very gratified to be asked to work on this legislation with Representative Pfeiffer, and I thank our fellow members and our governor for supporting this measure.”
The bill becomes effective Nov. 1.