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House passes ethics reform

January 11, 2010

The Indiana House of Representatives today passed a bill aimed at ethics reform. The legislation lowers the reporting amount on lobbyist gifts to legislators and makes those legislators wait one year after leaving office to become lobbyists. Representative Mike Murphy of Indianapolis was one of the 97 lawmakers voting in favor of the bill.

“The public’s expectation has grown. The world of the internet has grown. Our visibility and expected transparency has grown. And so I think it’s incumbent upon us to work with them because as you remember we do work for those folks and what they expect of us is what we need to give them.”

But the high number of yes votes didn’t necessarily reflect full legislator endorsement of the bill, as reflected in this comment from Representative David Wolkins of Winona Lake drew applause from many on the House floor.

“In my mind this bill is no so much about ethics as it has been about politics. This bill has been driven by the local editorial boards of the state of Indiana and we are reacting to it. That’s unfortunately the way I feel.”

The Senate is also considering ethics legislation. That bill, authored by Senator Patricia Miller of Indianapolis, would expand the measures to require university employees who lobby the legislature to report. It would also require local government officials to follow the same rules regarding gifts from lobbyists as state legislators.

Categories: Uncategorized
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