Friday, March 23, 2007

Grazing in the Grove of Ethics Legislation

The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a new State Legislation Database on Ethics Issues. This is a database of ethics legislation in State legislatures since 2004. It can be searched by state, topic, sponsor and status and in several categories and includes bills in state legislatures and Executive Orders.

A quick search on "Ethics Oversight" for 2007 found 87 different bills. Of the total, 82 are "active," one has been withdrawn, and four have been passed.

In Idaho, Executive Order 2007-01 includes members of the Governor's staff "as executive officials for purposes of reporting of lobbyists on activities with executive officials."

In Iowa, Senate Bill 40 adds to the standards for when government officials sell things to the government or accept gifts.

And in Missouri and Delaware, there were House Resolutions setting rules and procedures for their Ethics Committees. Missouri's was House Resolution 267. In Delaware, it was former Representative Smith's House Resolution 4 which was passed on January 9, the day the 144th General Assembly convened.

It seems like that was just in time. I did a quick search on the News Journal web site and found a report on January 9 from Patrick Jackson (archived and for sale, so no link). Here's the lede:
State Rep. John C. Atkins' legal troubles in Maryland and Delaware may be resolved, but the Millsboro Republican may have some political problems ahead of him as he gets sworn in for a third term today.
That does seem to have foreshadowed the way things have gone on the Atkins matter over the last few months.

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