JLEC Advisory Opinion 2018-001

The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee issued Advisory Opinion 2018-001 on September 10, 2018. The Committee advises the following:

  • Ohio law prohibits legislators and legislative employees from accepting travel expenses from a legislative agent (lobbyist) in the form of transportation in a ridesharing vehicle, unless such travel expenses are incurred for participation in a panel, seminar, or speaking engagement; or were incurred at a meeting or convention of a national organization of which any state agency or state institution of higher education is a dues paying member.
  • Legislators and legislative employees may ride with a legislative agent in a ridesharing vehicle for personal travel, so long as the legislator or employee reimburses the legislative agent for the legislator or employee’s portion of the total fare, as divided evenly among the riders. In the alternative, the legislator or employee may directly pay the ridesharing service for the legislator or employee’s portion of the fare.
  • If a legislator or employee accepts a ride from a legislative agent in a ridesharing vehicle and subsequently reimburses the legislative agent within seven calendar days for the legislator or employee’s portion of the total fare, the legislator or employee has not accepted anything of value from the legislative agent.
  • Advisory Opinion 2018-001 does not apply to, or affect, any use of a ridesharing service occurring on or before the adoption of this opinion.