The Ethics in Public Service – RCW 42.50 became effective in 1995. This law consolidated a number of prior ethics laws that had been in place providing ethics rules for various state employees and departments. The current law creates one set of ethics standards that apply to all state employees and officers. The Executive Ethics Board plays a key role in maintaining ethics accountability in the executive branch of Washington State Government.
The ethics law establishes high ethical and public service standards and holds state employees and officers accountable to the public in many areas including outside consulting, using state facilities and equipment, outside business interests and conflicts of interest. The ethics law applies to all state officers and employees including those at state universities such as Washington State University. Students employed by the University are governed by the state ethics law as an employee of the state.
This law provides that all state officers and employees have a duty to ensure the proper stewardship of state resources, and that those resources may not be used for the private benefit or gain of a state employee, officer, another employee, person, or organization.