The Maryland General Assembly has unanimously passed the first major update to ethics rules in a decade, sending the measure to Gov. Larry Hogan for his promised signature.

The legislation, given final passage by the House of Delegates Saturday, was approved two days before the annual legislative session concludes Monday — a session bookended by corruption charges against four current, former and prospective lawmakers.


After Hogan signs the measure — a rewritten version of legislation he proposed — the new law will require additional conflict-of-interest disclosures by lawmakers and put a few new limits on how they can advocate for businesses.

It will also create a new citizen advisory board to recommend ways to further tighten ethics laws for lawmakers. None of the changes would address the circumstances of the indicted legislators, who are being prosecuted by state and federal authorities in three separate cases.

On Friday, Democratic state Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks, a longtime Baltimore lawmaker, pleaded not guilty to federal wire fraud charges that alleged he accepted cash payments in exchange for trying to help a phony real estate developer secure funding for a project.

In January, the state prosecutor charged Baltimore Democrat Gary Brown with campaign finance violations days before Brown was to be sworn in as a delegate.

And just as the session began, former Prince George's County Del. William Campos, a Democrat, pleaded guilty in a sprawling corruption case that authorities said involved cash payments in exchange for advancing legislation related to liquor licenses.

In March, former Prince George's Democratic Del. Michael Vaughn was indicted in the same case. Vaughn had resigned from the House less than an hour before this year's session began, citing health issues.

None of the lawmakers have gone to trial.

Hogan, a Republican, proposed legislation that would have made more sweeping ethics rules that would have brought legislative ethics enforcement under the executive branch. After the attorney general's office advised that might violate the state constitution's separation of powers clause, the Democrat-led General Assembly amended the bill to update existing law.

Hogan issued a statement after the bill's final passage renewing his promise to sign it and saying the government had made "major progress in fulfilling our shared obligation to preserve the honor and the foundation of public trust that our proud institutions of government should always command."

The changes do address the ethical questions raised by the conduct of Del. Dan K. Morhaim. The Baltimore County Democrat was reprimanded by the House of Delegates this session for breaking the spirit, not the letter, of the state's ethics laws.

Morhaim advocated for medical marijuana policies before the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission without also telling them about his financial ties to a company seeking a license. Morhaim was not accused of breaking any laws, but the legislature updated existing ethics rules to explicitly bar such conduct in the future.