INCORPORATING "BRAIN SCIENCE" INTO PUBLIC AGENCY ETHICS TRAINING
Written by JoAnne Speers*
On January 1, 2022, AB 1234 celebrated its 17th birthday. Among other things, this statute1 requires that certain local elected and appointed officials receive periodic ethics training. Legislation approved in 2022 extended AB 1234’s provisions to certain school officials.2 (A similar, but narrower, requirement has been in place for state agencies for nearly a quarter century.3)
Such milestones provide an opportunity for the public law and public policy communities to reflect on what these kinds of policies achieve and where the opportunities might be for further achievements.
This article briefly reviews AB 1234’s requirements. It then explores what have we learned in the intervening years about why well-intended individuals fall short of their intention to act consistently with their values. The article concludes with thoughts on how public agency attorneys involved in ethics education might incorporate some of these concepts into public agency ethics training.