Governor Walker Signs Legislative Ethics Reform Into Law - P.O.W. Report

Friday, July 20, 2018

Governor Walker Signs Legislative Ethics Reform Into Law

HB 44 reforms conflicts of interest, compensation, gifts, and travel for legislators

JULY 19, 2018, JEWEL LAKE – Governor Walker signed House Bill 44 into law this evening at Jewel Lake Park. The bill marks the most significant ethics reform for Alaska’s Legislature in the last decade.

Sponsored by Rep. Jason Grenn, HB 44 makes a swath of good-governance changes:

· Common sense conflicts-of-interest rules. When a legislator votes on an issue they (or their immediate family) have a financial stake in, they must disclose it.

· No more junkets. Legislative travel abroad — often paid for by the state — must be approved and have an official legislative purpose.

· No free lunch. Lobbyists can no longer buy meals or alcoholic drinks for legislators.

· More accountability. If legislators don’t pass an operating budget by the constitutional deadline (day 121 of the legislative session), per diem payments (as much as $295 per day) will stop.

Supporters gathered for ice cream before the signing ceremony, including Rep. Grenn and Bonnie Jack, who along with Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, sponsored a similar ballot initiative on ethics reform which gathered close to 50,000 signatures of support across Alaska. Though the new law means the initiative won’t go to the ballot this fall, Governor Walker thanked its sponsors for helping pave the way to ethics reform.

“This is a measure that Alaskans told the Legislature they wanted to see, loud and clear,” the Governor said. “I’m grateful Alaska’s legislators prioritized the trust of their constituents and the integrity of their offices. I’m looking forward to the increased trust and transparency this law will bring to Alaska.”

The bill will go into effect immediately – in plenty of time for the 31st Legislative Session that begins January 2019.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.