Benson to OK state ethics code

CONCORD – A state ethics code won final approval from legislators Tuesday.

Gov. Craig Benson has already said he’d sign the bill that also prevents a state regulator from going to lobby in an area of expertise within six months of leaving government work.

A state employee or political appointee could face up to a year in jail for breaking the code, but only if the person “knowingly or willfully’’ was guilty of a conflict of interest.

The code is similar to executive orders former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Benson have issued that apply to their employees.

State legislators do not come under the code, nor does the governor or any volunteer working on the governor’s behalf.

The final bill specifically exempts Secretary of State Bill Gardner and state Treasurer Michael Ablowich from the law.