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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Senator Valentine on SJR 19: slight but significant change to the Ethics Complaint Process

By John L. Valentine
Utah State Senator, District 14

Senate Joint Resolution 19 - Joint Rules Resolution on Ethics Complaints
clarifies SJR 3. To remove possible criticism about the process, this bill requires any new ethics complaints to go directly to the Independent Legislative Ethics Commission rather than going through the Senate or House legislative ethics committees first. In my previous bill, the legislative ethics committee chairs served as the gatekeepers during the filing period. However, I believe we want to make the commission truly independent by giving them the primary authority to investigate ethics complaints against members of the legislature.

Along with the change in the initial filing, this resolution also provides that the chair of the commission will provide notice of a filing of an ethics complaint – confidential, no names or details until publicly disclosed by the commission – to the Speaker of the House or the Senate President as well as the chair and vice-chair of the legislative ethics committee.

This bill passed the Senate today unanimously and is headed to the House for their consent.

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