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Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook
Chapter 4 -- Faculty: Benefits, Responsibilities, and Specific Requirements
Gifts and Hospitality for Unclassified State Staff
The Kansas Commission on Governmental Standards and Conduct has issued rules and regulations and advisory opinions interpreting the gift statute. These can be viewed at https://ethics.kansas.gov/.
The Kansas Commission on Governmental Standards and Conduct issues advisory opinions upon its own initiative and upon the request of any person to whom the state law applies. Advisory opinions serve to interpret the law and may be especially useful to public servants who are considering an activity which they suspect may involve a conflict of interests. Any person who acts in accordance with the provisions of such an opinion shall be presumed to have complied with the provisions of the conflict of interests law. If the employee receives an offer of a gift which the employee is not sure whether to accept, the employee should consult with the supervisor or the Kansas Commission on Governmental Standards and Conduct to determine whether it is permissible to accept it.
NOTE: These provisions do not apply for an unclassified state employee whose salary is subject to the Governor’s approval.
Kansas Commission on Governmental Standards and Conduct (07-01-02).
1. Is it a violation for you to keep copies of books sent to you by publishers who want you to then order the books for your classroom?
2. Is it a violation for you to receive a free desk copy of newspapers and books used in your classroom?
Because you are in the unclassified service and your salary is not subject to direct approval by the Governor, K.S.A. 46-237, rather than Section 4 of HB 2064 found in Chapter 155 of the 1997 Session Laws of Kansas, applies to your questions. K.S.A. 46-237(a) in pertinent part states:
(a) No state officer or employee . . . shall accept, or agree to accept any economic opportunity, gift, loan, gratuity, special discount, favor, hospitality, or service having an aggregate value of $40 or more in any calendar year from any one person known to have a special interest, under circumstances where such person knows or should know that a major purpose of the donor is to influence such person in the performance of their official duties or prospective official duties.
K.S.A. 46-237(c) states:
(c) No person licensed, inspected or regulated by a state agency shall offer, pay, give or make any economic opportunity, gift, loan, gratuity, special discount, favor, hospitality, or service having an aggregate value of $40 or more in any calendar year to such agency or any state officer or employee, candidate for state office or state officer elect of that agency.
In applying this language to your questions, since you make the decisions on which textbooks are to be used in your classroom, each publisher would have a "special interest" in you. In addition, the books and newspapers are being provided to you in order to influence you in the performance of your official duties in selecting books and newspapers. Therefore, you could not accept these items as your personal property. However, since your university does not license, inspect or regulate the publishers, you could accept the items on behalf of the state and have them become state property.
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