Lawmaker plans bill on conflict of interest rules

JUNEAU — An Anchorage lawmaker plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session that would overhaul Alaska’s conflict of interest rules.

Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski’s proposal would require a majority vote to allow a House or Senate member with a stated conflict to abstain from voting. Wielechowski’s office says currently a single lawmaker can force another legislator to vote, even if there’s a significant conflict.

Besides requiring a recorded vote, Wielechowski’s office says the bill also would better define what constitutes a conflict. Legislators would have a conflict if a bill they are asked to vote on would substantially benefit their employer, someone they’re trying to work for or someone from whom they have gotten at least $10,000 in income in the preceding 12 months.

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