Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WHT article on proposed changes to ethics rules

An article in the West Hawaii Today covers yesterday's meeting of the interim Standards of Conduct Committee and the several revisions to House ethics rules its members are considering:
The bipartisan Interim Task Force on Standards of Conduct plans to finalize the rules Oct. 23 after passing them to colleagues for feedback. The rules would then be voted on during the first day of the 2008 legislative session.

"I think this is a major step forward," said House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell, D-Manoa. "This is a huge victory. Conflicts of interest, for example, have never before been defined in House rules."

Unlike bills, House rules don't have to go to the Senate or the governor for approval.The new rules differ from the current ones primarily in the areas of conflicts of interest and the acceptance of honoraria, or compensation, for speaking engagements. They also set up a Standards of Conduct Committee that is unique in that it will be composed of three members each from the majority and minority parties instead of having more majority members like other committees.

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