House panel continues its work on ethics reform bill

Posted: Monday, February 19, 2007

A House panel charged with drafting a comprehensive ethics reform bill hopes to have a comprehensive bill before the full State Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

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The three-person subcommittee continued last week to pick its way through various proposals and amendments and planned to meet again today.

Even so, having a full bill by Tuesday may be optimistic, said subcommittee head John Coghill, R-North Pole.

The group is still working through amendments to executive branch laws, and Coghill also wants the group to review the proposed legislation before moving the measure onto the full committee.

"So that it's clean as can be and they don't have to guess what the policy calls are and what still have to be made," Coghill said.

State Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, said the time taken in subcommittee is time saved later on.

"I'm pleased we are making deliberate progress here. It's not very glamorous work, but building a foundation is not very glamorous," Lynn said.

Coghill said most of the hot button policy calls will be left to the full committee.

House Bill 109, which started out as the governor's bill, also will be heard in the Judiciary Committee before it is debated on the House floor.

Lawmakers have made ethics reform among their top priorities this year.

They want to tighten rules in the executive and legislative branches of government, creating greater disclosure and accountability for outside financial interests.

The push comes on the heels of a rocky 2006 that featured an FBI raid on several lawmakers offices and federal bribery charges against former Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Anchorage.



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