Senate Passes ‘Independent [sic] Investigation’ Bill


Yesterday the Senate amended H.3184, which deals with the legislature’s system of self-policing – i.e. lawmakers adjudicating each other’s ethics violations in the form of House and Senate ethics committees. While the concerning provisions remain the same (they’re explained here), senators made these changes.

  • It would now take a three-fourths vote by the Ethics Commission to determine that a complaint alleges an actual ethics violation. The bill previously left thatat the discretion of the Commission.
  • Filers of groundless complaints may be required to reimburse commission costs.
  • Private reprimands would be a matter of public record.

The bill also removes the section increasing ethics penalties. However, the legislature would still appoint half the Ethics Commission, thus continuing legislative influence in lawmakers’ ethics violations. And the bill would still only allow the Commission to investigate ethics violations, leaving final judgement and punishment to the legislature’s ethics committees.

In short: legislative self-policing would remain largely unchanged.

H.3184 received second reading on a voice vote, delaying the roll call vote for third reading.

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